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Backbench Business — Palestine and Israel

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 6:01 pm on 13th October 2014.

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Photo of Malcolm Rifkind Malcolm Rifkind Chair, Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament 6:01 pm, 13th October 2014

No, I am sorry. I am afraid I cannot in the time available.

We are told that 135 members of the United Nations—many of which have relatively little connection with the middle east, although some have a great connection—have recognised Palestine as a state. That has had no effect. It has received 24 hours of publicity but has had no marginal, massive or significant impact on the course of history. There is a great risk that today we will make ourselves feel important and that our own frustration will lead us to vote for a motion that will not have the desired effect and will perhaps make the problems that need to be addressed in reaching a two-state solution more difficult to deal with.

I will not detain the House any further, but will simply say that symbolism sometimes has a purpose and sometimes has a role, but one does not recognise a state that does not yet have the fundamental ingredients that a state requires if it is to carry out its international functions. At the very least, I would respectfully suggest that the motion is premature.