Labour leader candidate declares party was wrong to recognise Palestinian state
CAMPAIGNERS took a swipe at Liz Kendall yesterday after she argued that Labour should not have voted to recognise the state of Palestine.
The leadership hopeful said that she did not vote — even with pressure from her constituents — and claimed that “a two-state solution can only be realised through negotiation” rather than passing Commons and United Nations (UN) resolutions.
She argued that her abstention was “the right thing to do” in an address on Monday night at hustings held by Labour Friends of Israel and the Jewish Chronicle.
MPs on all sides voted in favour of recognising the Palestinian state by 274 to 12 last year.
The Blairite went onto say that she would fight “really worrying developments” of boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel with “every fibre in [her] being.”
Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) director Sarah Colborne said: “Israel shows no sign of ending occupation of Palestinian land and the siege on Gaza, which is illegal under international law, nor is it coming under any concrete pressure from the international community to do so.
“In the absence of effective action from governments to end an illegal occupation and siege, the Palestinians have called for ordinary people to use BDS as a peaceful tool for change.
“Palestine Solidarity Campaign supports BDS and recognition of a Palestinian state and urges all candidates to recognise their importance in helping to achieve a just peace.”
Left-wing candidate Jeremy Corbyn voiced his strong support for boycotts of illegal West Bank settlement products and sanctions against Israel at the hustings.
He asked the audience, after highlighting severe bloodshed and breaches of human rights against Palestinians: “Is it right that we should be supplying arms in that situation?”
Also in attendance, leadership hopefuls Andy Burnham branded BDS “spiteful” and “completely unjustified” while Yvette Cooper called the campaign “counterproductive.”
Ms Kendall said she was “proud” of the 1917 Balfour Declaration that led to thousands of deaths and millions of Palestinians being displaced in the Zionist movement for a “national home for the Jewish people.”
While Mr Corbyn listed the destructive effects, Ms Cooper hailed the document as “ahead of its time.”
Mr Burnham went as far to say that Britain should “re-educate” itself and future generations about the declaration as part of a wider package of “British values.”
But he would refuse to share a platform with all parties in the Palestine-Israel conflict — as Mr Corbyn has done — and said he would resort to “sanctioning” those under his leadership who would.
It comes as the UN agreed to recognise the London-based Palestinian Return Centre (PRC), approving its accreditation.
The decision will be a blow to Israel after its deputy UN ambassador David Roet claimed that the NGO is affiliated with Hamas and “openly promotes terrorism.”
The PRC, which helps Palestinian refugees return home in accordance with international law, is suing the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs for defamation unless it withdraws the allegations.