The JLC has made a request to friends of Israel within the Community and beyond to contact MPs in advance of a House of Commons vote on Palestinian statehood due on Monday 13th October 2014.
A backbench motion has been tabled calling for recognition for a Palestinian state without taking into account either the political situation or Israel’s interests and concerns.
The motion says “That this House believes that the Government should recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel” and has been tabled by MPs who are prominent critics of Israel.
There is an amendment reading “add ‘on the conclusion of successful peace negotiations between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority.’” which has been backed by the three Friends of Israel organisations of Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat
Simon Johnson, Chief Executive of the JLC, said “We call on MPs to attend the debate but especially to be in the Commons in time for the 10 pm vote and to support the all party amendment . We wish to urge MP’s to regard supporting the amendment as a “three line whip” occasion.
Whilst the vote is not binding on Government, if the main resolution were to secure a majority, it would pose a constant reminder to the Government that MPs have ‘expressed their will’ on the matter and going down that road ought not to face political opposition. This would cause a problem to the UK’s ability to play a balanced role in the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians.”
The Jewish Telegraph reported that the words of the amendment, “on the conclusion of successful peace negotiations between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority”, ties in with the views of the Foreign Office.
Their spokesman told the Jewish Telegraph that whilst they reserve the right to bilaterally recognise a Palestinian state at a moment of their choosing and crucially, “when it can best help bring about peace”.
The Jewish Telegraph reports the spokesman as giving guidance that MPs should support the line suggested by the amendment. “We continue to believe that negotiations towards a two state solution are the best route to meeting Palestinian aspirations in reality and on the ground”.
The Jewish Telegraph also revealed that a spokesman for Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander has effectively endorsed the line taken by the Foreign Office.
The spokesman told the Jewish Telegraph that as for now “Labour does not support an immediate unilateral recognition of Palestine as a state outside of a wider process to secure a comprehensive two state solution”.
Luke Akehurst of “We Believe in Israel” has sent an urgent reminder to all Israel supporters earlier this week alerting them to the Commons debate which confirmed that if the main motion were to be passed unamended, whilst it would not create government policy, “it would by spun by critics of Israel as being indicative of the will of Parliament”.
Simon Johnson said “We know that many MPs might not yet have returned to Parliament, as it is the first day back after the conference recess and there is no whipped business to consider. Therefore, we are urging all friends of Israel to write to or contact their MP to urge them to be present if not to participate in the debate, to at least vote for the crucial amendment at the 10 pm vote.”
A sample letter to MP’s can be found at the We Believe in Israel website. The link is here. http://us2.campaign-archive2.com/?u=4f205ffabc02c1048c024eebe&id=b5999b77ac