Report: UK Labour’s election manifesto set to pledge Palestinian state recognition

Party does not comment on report, but its leader Starmer said last month that if he wins on July 4, he will only offer recognition at right time during peace process

A banner reading "Keir Starmer: Will Labour Stop Arming Israel?" is hung over the side of Westminster Bridge, in front of the Palace of Westminster, in London on June 3, 2024. (Henry Nicholls/AFP)
A banner reading "Keir Starmer: Will Labour Stop Arming Israel?" is hung over the side of Westminster Bridge, in front of the Palace of Westminster, in London on June 3, 2024. (Henry Nicholls/AFP)

LONDON, United Kingdom — Britain’s opposition Labour Party is expected to include a pledge to recognize a Palestinian state at an appropriate time in peace talks in its election manifesto, the Guardian newspaper reported Thursday, citing unnamed people with knowledge of the document.

The manifesto, which sets out the party’s policies ahead of the vote on July 4, will also pledge to ensure that recognizing a Palestinian state is not vetoed by a “neighboring country,” the newspaper reported.

Labour leader Keir Starmer said last month that he wanted to recognize a Palestinian state if he won power, but that such a move would need to come at the right time in a peace process.

Foreign Secretary David Cameron, a Conservative, said in January that Britain could formally recognize a Palestinian state if Palestinians would show “irreversible progress” towards a two-state solution, according to reports at the time.

Labour’s pledge appears to be similar in substance, but including it in the manifesto could help to appease some voters who have been critical of the party’s stance on the war in Gaza.

The manifesto will be finalized in a meeting with unions on Friday and will be presented next Thursday, the report said.

UK Labour Party leader Keir Starmer attends a UK national commemorative event to mark the 80th anniversary commemorations of the Allied amphibious landing (D-Day Landings) in France in 1944, in Southsea Common, in Portsmouth, southern England, on June 5, 2024. (Leon Neal/Pool/AFP)

Labour did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

Spain, Ireland and Norway last month officially recognized a Palestinian state, seeking to accelerate efforts to secure a ceasefire in Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza. Slovenia also formally recognized Palestinian statehood on Tuesday.

However, officials from at least some of those countries acknowledge that an actual independent state is far off, with the Palestinians governed by different factions in the West Bank and Gaza, and that the move is primarily symbolic and designed to support efforts for a two-state solution.

Israel has repeatedly called moves to recognize a Palestinian state a “reward” to Hamas for its October 7 atrocities, in which terrorists killed some 1,200 people and took 251 hostages.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry says over 36,000 people in the Strip have been killed or are presumed dead in the fighting so far, though only some 24,000 fatalities have been identified at hospitals. The toll, which cannot be verified, includes some 15,000 terror operatives Israel says it has killed in battle. Israel also says it killed some 1,000 terrorists inside Israel on October 7.

Two hundred and ninety-five soldiers have been killed during Israel’s ground offensive against Hamas and amid operations along the Gaza border. A civilian Defense Ministry contractor has also been killed in the Strip.

Most Popular
read more: