UK Labor MPs Rebel Against Dictated ‘Palestine’ Vote

Opposition MPs are ‘furious’ for being directed to vote for recognition of Palestinian state, admitting it makes ‘peace’ process more difficult.

By Ari Yashar


The UK is anticipated to pass a non-binding vote on Monday recognizing “Palestine,” but members of the Labor party which proposed the move are reportedly holding an internal revolt against the forced vote.

Ed Miliband

Ed Miliband – Reuters

MP Ed Miliband is head of the Opposition and the Labor party, whose member Grahame Morris proposed the vote. His shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander has told Labor shadow ministers that they must vote in favor of the motion, reports the British Independent.

But numerous Labor party members have expressed outrage at the move, with several of the shadow ministers and senior Labor MPs demanding that Miliband give members a free vote.

“To say that there is a row going on it putting it very mildly,” said one senior Labor MP. “People are furious. This is an attempt to rip up 13 years of carefully calibrated policy. It total madness and makes the prospect of peace less rather than more likely.”

The MP added “there is a blame game going on. Miliband’s people are blaming the decision on Alexander and Alexander’s people are blaming it on Miliband. But there will certainly be shadow ministers not turning up on Monday to vote regardless of the whip.”

Those opposing the vote are likely to include shadow Work and Pension Secretary Rachel Reeves, and shadow Cabinet Office minister Michael Dugher, both of whom are officers of the Labor Friends of Israel which has stated the move goes beyond the party’s stance that the issue of a Palestinian state must be resolved in direct negotiations.

The British move comes after Sweden made a storm by pledging its commitment to recognize a Palestinian state two weeks ago on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman criticized the announcement, saying it came to compensate for Western failures.

Israel’s Labor party wrote to their British counterparts ahead of the vote, warning against the move and saying such an act would only make “peace” less likely.

MK Hilik Bar (Labor), deputy speaker of the Knesset, wrote to all Labor MPs asking that they defy the call for party discipline in voting for the motion.

“I understand why many of you will want to vote for anything which claims to be a contribution to peace. But our view in the Israeli Labor Party is that unilateral recognition of Palestinian statehood does nothing to advance this vital cause,” wrote Bar.

Morris, who submitted the anti-Israel vote, has touted its chances saying he has the support of his party and several lawmakers from the ruling Conservative party. The sentiment against Israel was seen in the recent Gaza operation, in which the UK threatened to suspend arms exports to Israel.


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