UK to abstain in a UN vote on Palestine
The UK will abstain in a United Nations (UN) vote on Palestinian statehood, Foreign Secretary William Hague told the House of Commons during a statement on the Middle East.
In response, Douglas Alexander MP, the Shadow Foreign Secretary said "Given the absence of any meaningful negotiations between the parties at present, a point which I am sure the Foreign Secretary will not dispute, can he tell the House how his position of having no position is likely to advance the peace process?
He went on to say "the decision announced by the Government today represents a further acceptance of and accommodation to a wider pattern of failure-failure to achieve meaningful negotiations, failure to meet the aspirations of the Palestinians and, indeed, the Israeli people, and continued failure by the international community to find a way through the present impasse."
Ben Bradshaw MP said "an abstention at the United Nations would simply be an abdication of responsibility and achieve nothing?" Jack Straw MP said "there is absolutely no evidence that holding back from a decision to vote for this will encourage Israel to come to the table. Surely the whole weight of the argument is that Israel will come to the table only if the international community is firm with it."
Conservative MP Nicholas Soames said "Our partners in the middle east look on amazed while we support the right to self-determination in every other country in the region but deny the Palestinians the same right. I strongly urge him to order a reconsideration of the matter and exercise a positive vote at the Security Council."
Liberal Democrat Sir Menzies Campbell said "that such a decision is wrong in principle, is ultimately against British interests and will reduce our influence in the region?"
Other MPs who raised questions included Richard Burden, Joan Ruddock, Tony Lloyd, and Sir Gerald Kaufman, and you can read a summary of the statement and questions as related to Palestine by clicking here.
"UK guilty of double standards on UN vote"
Simon Danczuk MP, chair of Labour Friends of Palestine, said:
"Today's announcement makes the UK look guilty of double standards when we have a Prime Minister praising the Arab Spring, saying 'we are on your side' and supporting the right to self-determination in the Middle East then denying the same right to Palestinians.
"Even Tory grandees like Nicholas Soames are warning this absurd position will mean that Britain will have to face severe consequences in the Middle East.
"David Cameron cannot travel round the world saying he is a friend of democracy while leaving Palestinians in their refugee camps and blocking their statehood bid. This is the worst kind of hypocrisy."
National Lobby of Parliament 23rd November
Help make a difference for Palestine. On Wednesday 23rd November 2011 there will be a national lobby of Parliament on Palestine. Please contact your MP for a meeting if you able to attend Parliament in person on that day and urge them to press the Government to help lift the siege on Gaza, act on illegal Israeli settlement building and to help release Palestinian child prisoners.