B’nai B’rith International is disappointed that the British Parliament’s House of Commons voted to symbolically urge government recognition of a Palestinian state in a 247-12 vote on Oct. 13. More than half, however, of the 650 legislators in the House of Commons absented themselves from the vote.
While the vote does not provide official British recognition of an independent Palestinian state, this misguided and premature decision only serves to encourage Palestinians to pursue their political goals without bilateral negotiations and compromise with Israel. British Prime Minister David Cameron must ensure that the parliamentary motion does not prejudice his government’s foreign policy.
The vote defies insistence by the international Quartet for Middle East peace—of which the European Union is a member and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is the special envoy—that resolution of Palestinian-Israeli disputes be achieved only through direct negotiations between the parties. The British legislators’ vote does nothing to aid these talks and ignores the fact that a part of the Palestinian territories remains controlled by Hamas, a terrorist organization openly sworn to Israel’s destruction.