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MPs including the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, have voted to recognise Palestine as a state in a symbolic move that will unnerve Israel by suggesting that it is losing a wider battle for public opinion in Britain.
The vote of 274 to 12, a majority of 262, on a backbench motion has no practical impact on British government policy and ministers were instructed not to vote. Labour decided to impose a one-line whip, and the Liberal Democrats, like the Conservatives, gave their backbenchers a free vote.
In possibly the single most important contribution in an emotional debate, Richard Ottaway, the Conservative chairman of the foreign affairs select committee, said the recent annexation of West Bank land by the Israeli government had angered him like nothing else in politics.
The former foreign secretary, Jack Straw, said the vote was not simply a gesture, because if it were, the Israeli government would not be as worried by the vote.
The Israeli government, he said, wants the recognition of the Palestinian state only at the successful conclusion of any negotiations. But Straw said “such an approach would give the Israelis a veto over whether a Palestinian state should exist”. A vote for recognition would add to the pressure on the Israeli government, he said. “The only thing that the Israeli government, in my view, in its present demeanour under Bibi Netanyahu understands is pressure."
originally posted by: jjkenobi
That's rich coming from a country that just successfully squashed one of their territories from becoming an independent state.