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Backbench Business — Palestine and Israel

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 6:53 pm on 13th October 2014.

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Photo of Mike Wood Mike Wood Labour, Batley and Spen 6:53 pm, 13th October 2014

I, too, congratulate my hon. Friend Grahame M. Morris on securing this debate; he has done all in the House a great service.

I cannot think why any supporter of Israel should oppose the recognition of a Palestinian state. We know the history of Israel from its beginnings in 1948, as outlined by my right hon. Friend Sir Gerald Kaufman. We know about the six-day war in 1967 and about Israel’s present situation. In 2013, Mr Kerry warned that there were only two years to resolve this flashpoint and that time was running out. He was surely talking to the Israelis as much as to the Palestinians. The two-state solution is disappearing rapidly before our very eyes.

We have to grapple with the issue of what will happen if there are not two states. What does the one-state solution look like? We are told that the majority of the present Israeli Administration no longer accept a two-state solution. Mr Netanyahu has suddenly become a rather centrist pragmatist, holding together a coalition, many of whom are to the right of him, in wanting a one-state solution. Do they accept the genocide and ethnic cleansing that go along with that?

The situation is far worse than that in apartheid South Africa, which has been mentioned. It has been regularly referred to as a parallel to what is going on in Palestine, but the situation in Palestine is much worse than apartheid. The white junta in South Africa accepted that somewhere in the country—preferably not near them —there would be land for black people. It was the worst possible land and a long way from the ruling white group, but none the less the junta accepted that there would be a place for the blacks. A one-state solution in Israel does not accept such a thing. There is no place in Israel and Palestine for the Palestinians. We have to face squarely what that means and so do the Israelis. That is even more reason why we should not give the Israelis a veto over Palestinian statehood.

We will be voting tonight for the recognition of a Palestinian state. That is not just about recognising the inalienable right of Palestinians to freedom and self-determination but about Israel’s need to be saved from itself. What Israel is looking at in a one-state solution is a continuation, year after year, of war and violence such as we have seen building in the past 20 years. The Israelis have just finished a third incursion into Gaza in 10 years. Are we suggesting that every two years another 1,500 people should be killed and another 100,000 people rendered homeless as a continuation of the process of driving everybody who is not Jewish out of what is considered to be greater Israel?