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UK Vote on Palestinian Statehood: Hold the Cheers

George Galloway

On Monday, MPs will vote up or down on whether to recognize Palestinian statehood. Doing so is non-binding. It's largely symbolic.

Labour Friends of Palestine proposed the motion, stating:

"This House believes that the Government should recognize the state of Palestine alongside the State of Israel."

The vote follows Sweden's newly-formed center-left Prime Minister, Stefan Lofven, announcing his intention to recognize Palestinian statehood.

It's the first EU country to do so. Likely not the last. It's the 135th to recognize what's long overdue. Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland, Malta, Poland, Romania and Slovakia upgraded Palestine to full embassy status earlier.

Parliamentary approval won't commit Britain to officially extend recognition. A UK Foreign Office spokesman said:

"We continue to believe that negotiations toward a two-state solution are the best route to meeting Palestinian aspirations in reality and on the ground."

In other words, David Cameron's government supports occupation harshness. It ignores Israel's worst crimes. It intends business as usual. Palestinian rights don't matter. UK Foreign Secretary William Hague added:

Britain "reserves the right to recognize a Palestinian state bilaterally at the moment of our choosing and when it can best help bring about peace."

Labour MP Grahame Morris believes "now's the time to shout out loud that this should be done."

"For too long the international community has cruelly refused the Palestinian people this right and by doing so has hindered the realisation of peace and security in the region. The two-state solution has been Britain's stated policy aim for decades, but in politics talk often comes cheap. So far the government's support for a two-state solution has been in rhetoric only. Not only is statehood the inalienable right of the Palestinian people, but recognizing Palestine will breathe new life into a peace process that is at an impasse."

Cameron's government saying it'll support Palestinian statehood if peace is achieved reflects cop-out. No process exists. It never did. It doesn't now. Israel deplores peace. It goes all-out against it. Decades of so-called negotiations reflect the greatest hoax in modern times. Talks when held are a convenient illusion.

Pure fantasy. Stillborn from inception every time. Fascist extremists run Israel. They ludicrously claim recognizing Palestinian statehood makes peace "more distant."

Only Jews have rights, they believe. They claim an inalienable right to settle anywhere "in the land of the Bible." They want maximum land with minimum Arabs. They want Judea and Samaria entirely Judaized. Except for cantonized worthless scrubland. Pro-Palestinian groups claim over 140,000 supporters urged Parliamentarians to support statehood.

Israel Advocacy UK, the Zionist Federation and other pro-Israeli groups collected about 2,000 signatures. They petitioned MPs to reject statehood, saying:

"To grant Palestinians statehood at this premature juncture sends a harmful message that negotiations can be circumvented and dialogue ignored, rewarding intransigence over compromise."

Zionist Federation chairman Alan Aziz called parliamentary support for Palestinian statehood "divisive." It's unclear if Monday's motion will pass or fail. London's Guardian believes otherwise.

On October 10, it headlined "MPs likely to vote to recognise Palestine as a state." "(M)inisters will abstain…" So will other MPs. At the same time, the Guardian believes Labour MPs support statehood. So do many Liberal Democrats and some Torries. Whether enough to carry the day remains to be seen.

Labour's shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander called Monday's motion compatible with official party policy," saying:

"Labour’s consistent support for the principle of recognising Palestinian statehood, as part of continuing steps to achieve a comprehensive negotiated two-state solution, is why we will be voting to support the principle of Palestinian statehood when the House of Commons debates the issue on Monday."

In 2012, Britain abstained on a General Assembly Palestinian statehood vote.

At the time, Member States upgraded Palestine from "permanent observer" to "non-member observer state." Washington opposes Palestinian statehood. It supports Israel's worst crimes. Both countries partner in wrongdoing. It's longstanding policy.

Media scoundrels endorse it. Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen shamelessly blames Palestinians for horrendous Nakba ethnic cleansing and mass slaughter.

His new book titled "Israel: Is It Good for the Jews?" turns truth on its head, claiming:

"(T)he driver of events was not, as is almost universally argued, the Jews, but the Arabs. Had the Palestinians and the nearby Arab states agreed to the United Nations partition plan, had they acceded to the creation of the State of Israel, the rationale for the nakba would have been avoided…"

"Had they accepted this outcome - had they accepted the rule of law - there would not have been a nakba, and 770,000 Palestinians would not have been displaced."

Cohen outrageously claims Israel had no choice. It had to ethnically cleanse Palestine. And massacre tens of thousands of Palestinians doing it.

"They simply had to be pushed out," he said. "The very people who had made war - who had initiated the war and sometimes conducted it in barbaric fashion - could not be permitted to stay in place or to return to their old homes. This was not a case of racism or colonialism but of security based on common sense. The Palestinian was the enemy, and the enemy had to go."

Truth is polar opposite. Cohen is a longtime Israeli apologist. He supports its worst crimes. He reinvents history.  Correct analysis isn't his long suit. Legitimate editors wouldn't touch his rubbish. WaPo ones feature it.

Cohen is unapologetically Zionist. He claims a "strong emotional attachment" to Israel. Its "survival is not only important for the Jewish people but for the rest of mankind as well," he says. Apparently he believes if genocidal high crimes against peace assure it, so be it. Likeminded racists feel the same way.

Israel takes full advantage. Palestinian suffering doesn't matter. Violence was "unavoidable," claims Cohen. Palestinians "had to go." They "had to be pushed out." Israel "simply could not afford a large and hostile minority/majority within its borders."

Respect party Bradford West MP George Galloway intends abstaining on Monday. On October 10, he issued a statement explaining why, saying:

"I have been urged by a number of my constituents to support a motion being debated and voted on in parliament on Monday 'that this House believes that the Government should recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel.' As many probably know the Palestinian cause has been central to my political activity for the last 40 years. I appreciate the good intentions many have in urging me to support this motion."

"However, unfortunately I cannot support this motion as it accepts recognition of the state of Israel, does not define borders of either state or address the central question of the right of return of the millions of Palestinians who have been forced to live outside Palestine. Israel was a state born in 1948 out of the blood of the Palestinians who were hounded from their land. Since then it has grabbed ever more land from the Palestinian people."

"In the last five years, it has twice launched murderous assaults on the Palestinian people of Gaza, some 1.8 million people crammed into what is in effect a prison camp. In the wake of the most recent war on Gaza, Israel has announced its biggest land grab in the Occupied West Bank so far. Israel has defied UN resolution after UN resolution with impunity because of the continued backing of Western countries and, above all, the US."

"I continue to support the only realistic solution, one democratic and secular state, called Israel-Palestine or Palestine-Israel. The proposed two-state solution is to all intents and purposes dead and is only used in order to provide Israel further breathing space to consolidate the illegal settlements and expand its land grab further."

"For these reasons, I am afraid I cannot support this motion and will abstain on Monday."

George Galloway, MP for Bradford West

Regardless of Monday's vote, It's historic. A reality check. Universal recognition of Palestinian self-determination is long overdue.

It's just a matter of time before acknowledging it. Key is whether militarized occupation ends. Whether Israel is held accountable for genocidal high crimes. Whether liberation means peace, equity and justice.

What happens going forward remains to be seen. It's very much uncertain. The fullness of time will tell.

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