MPs back Palestinian statehood

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British MPs have today supported a symbolic move to recognize Palestine as an official state.

MPs have voted by 274 to 12 in favour of recognising Palestine as a state alongside Israel.

A number of politicians chose to abstain from the final vote, including Prime Minister David Cameron and Respect MP George Galloway.

The Swedish parliament recently voted in favor of recognizing a Palestinian state earlier this month,the first EU country to do so.

Despite many predicting that the motion would fall, MPs recognized it could set a precedent for the future of a Palestinian state.

Some ministers, including Labour MP Grahame Morris, called it a ‘historic opportunity ‘to take a ‘small but symbolic’ step to support self-determination for Palestine.

The Labour party has twice called on the government, in 2011 and 2012,to back Palestine’s request for official state recognition at the UN.

The House of Commons backed the move “as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution” reports the BBC

The vote is symbolic but could have international implications.

Government ministers abstained in the vote, and Middle East Minister Tobias Ellwood said Britain reserved the right to recognise Palestine when it is “appropriate for the peace process”.

In 2012 the UN General Assembly voted to upgrade the Palestinians’ status to that of “non-member observer state”.

The assembly voted 138 to nine in favour, with 41 nations – including the UK – abstaining.

The motion was put forward by Labour MP Grahame Morris and amended by former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

Mr Morris told MPs recognising Palestine as a state would be a “symbolically important” step towards peace, saying relations between Israelis and Palestinians were “stuck at an impasse”.