Labour manifesto to say Palestine recognition ‘part of international process’

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Labour manifesto to say Palestine recognition ‘part of international process’

Communal source close to the party says next week's manifesto will stress need for 'process resulting in a two-state solution with a safe and secure Israel'

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’s general election manifesto is expected to stress that recognition of a Palestinian state must be achieved through an ‘international process resulting in a two-state solution, with a safe and secure Israel’.

A senior communal source close to Labour told Jewish News that the manifesto will include a reference to eventual recognition of a Palestinian state, but it will not be “immediate” if Keir Starmer’s party forms the next government.

On Thursday evening, the Guardian reported that Starmer is planning to use the manifesto to make his strongest commitment on Palestinian statehood since the war in Gaza started.

But a communal source told Jewish News: “Despite the Guardian headlines, we expect the manifesto text to reflect Labour’s consistent position since the National Policy Forum last summer: recognition will be part of an international process resulting in a two-state solution with a safe and secure Israel. Thankfully, this is night and day from the student politics approach taken under Corbyn.”

Under Jeremy Corbyn Labour promised the “immediate and unconditional recognition of the State of Palestine” in both the 2017 and 2019 party manifestos.

Jeremy Corbyn speaking at a Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East fringe event in 2016

But the manifesto, launched next Thursday, is expected to reflect the position on Israel and Palestine agreed at a meeting of Labour’s national policy forum both the 7 October Hamas massacre and the subsequent response in Gaza.

At the time sources close to Starmer had recommended only the briefest mentions of foreign policy around the Middle East in any manifesto, but the magnitude of the crisis in Gaza has made the issue centre stage.

Labour’s manifesto is now expected to mirror a move first mooted by Lord Cameron, stressing that recognition of Palestine should take place before the end of any peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.This would stop either side in any negotiations breaking away from recognition of two-states at the last stage.

The final version of the manifesto will be agreed in a meeting with unions on Friday and launched officially next Thursday.

In January Starmer told an audience at the Jewish Labour Movement conference that Palestine recognition “has to be part of a process, and an appropriate part of the process”.

He confirmed there was “no risk” Labour would recognise Palestine from “day one” of coming to power.

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