Labour calls for a ‘wider process’ to begin before it would recognise Palestinian state

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Labour calls for a ‘wider process’ to begin before it would recognise Palestinian state

Keir Starmer's spokesperson says Labour's 'fundamental objective was a negotiated diplomatic agreement to resolve the Israel/Palestine conflict based on two-states'

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

A Labour government led by Keir Starmer be committed to the two state solution (Blake Ezra Photography)
A Labour government led by Keir Starmer be committed to the two state solution (Blake Ezra Photography)

Labour wants to work with a “wider coalition of like-minded countries” to recognise a Palestinian state that would “carry greater diplomatic and political weight and have a better chance of making a meaningful contribution to the goal of a two-state solution”, Keir Starmer’s spokesperson has said.

Questioned about the party’s position on Palestinian state recognition, following announcements by Spain, Norway, and Ireland, Starmer’s spokesperson stressed Labour’s “fundamental objective was a negotiated diplomatic agreement to resolve the Israel/Palestine conflict based on two-states – a secure and safe Israel, alongside a viable and sovereign Palestinian state.”

On the move by the three countries to announce they were recognising a Palestine state, Starmer’s spokesperson said Labour shared an ambition to see a two-state solution both Israelis and Palestinians to “enjoy security, dignity and human rights.”

But the spokesperson repeated the need for a “wider process” that they said would be “most effective” in contributing to Palestinian state recognition.

Starmer’s aide said these were “important conversations” Labour would like to engage in with allies if they were fortunate enough to form the next government.

Asked about Starmer’s position on the ICC and the decision to apply for arrest warrants, the spokesperson stressed that at the moment the prosecutor had made an application, but “we will have to wait and see what the decision the court makes.”

Meanwhile Labour sources have told Jewish News that MPs were coming under “massive pressure” from pro-Palestine campaign groups to continue condemnation of Israeli military action in Gaza in the Commons.
On Wednesday, the Coventry South MP Zarah Sultana gifted Rishi Sunak his loudest cheer of support at PMQs after she raised allegations of UK arms sales to Israel again during PMQs.

At one stage Sultana claimed:””This House does not aid and abet Hamas, but it does aid and abet Israel.”
Sunak responded to loud cheers from the Tory benches that the MPs comments showed Labour had not really changed.

One Labour insider said Sultana’s decision to raise the issue at PMQs had showed “immaturity”, but they said MPs in the party were being put under massive pressure to raise the issue by Palestine campaign group leaders.

A Labour spokesperson said the party was clear there was a distinction to be made between the actions of Hamas, and those of Israel in defending itself following the October 7th attacks.

On Sultana’s comments, the spokesperson said it could only be assumed she was referring to arms sale claims.

On Tuesday, Starmer and shadow foreign secretary David Lammy met the families of Israeli hostages again.

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