Petition Call for the UK government to formally recognise the State of Palestine
The UK government should formally recognise the State of Palestine based on 1967 lines with Jerusalem as a shared capital. To enable this, the UK government should act robustly to prevent annexation of territory by the State of Israel as well as facilitating peace, justice and dignity for all.
Considering the UK's historical role in the situation in Israel-Palestine today, through the Balfour Declaration and Sykes-Picot Agreement, the UK government needs to take responsibility and take an active role in restoring peace in the region for the benefit of Israelis and Palestinians alike. Dialogue between parties should be rooted in the recognition of the human rights, equality and dignity of all Palestinians and Israelis, as well as maintaining a firm foundation in international law.
This response was given on 7 July 2020
The UK will recognise a Palestinian state at a time when it best serves the objective of peace. Bilateral recognition in itself cannot end the occupation. We need to see a negotiated settlement.
The UK’s longstanding position on the Middle East Peace Process is clear: we support a negotiated settlement leading to a safe and secure Israel living alongside a viable and sovereign Palestinian state; based on 1967 borders with agreed land swaps, Jerusalem as the shared capital of both states, and a just, fair, agreed and realistic settlement for refugees.
The UK will recognise a Palestinian state at a time when it best serves the objective of peace. Bilateral recognition in itself cannot end the occupation. Without a negotiated settlement the occupation and the problems that come with it will continue.
We are deeply concerned by reports that the new Israeli government coalition has reached an agreement which may pave the way for annexation of parts of the West Bank. Any unilateral moves towards annexation of parts of the West Bank by Israel would be damaging to efforts to restart peace negotiations and contrary to international law.
We continue to urge Israel not to take steps towards annexation. The Prime Minister urged Israel not to proceed in an article in Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth on 1 July. The Prime Minister has also conveyed the UK’s opposition to unilateral annexation to Prime Minister Netanyahu on multiple occasions, including in a phone call in February and a letter in June. The Foreign Secretary reiterated this message in his introductory calls with Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Gantz on 20 May and Foreign Minister Ashkenazi on 2 June. The Minister for the Middle East and North Africa also did so at the UN Security Council on 24 June.
We continue to work closely with international partners strongly advocating a two-state solution and encouraging a return to meaningful negotiations. The Foreign Secretary did so most recently in a meeting with the French Foreign Minister Le Drian on 29 June, and the German Foreign Minister Maas on 19 June. He has discussed efforts to pursue a negotiated solution with the Egyptian Foreign Minister Shoukry and Jordanian Foreign Minister Safadi.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) has made important progress on state-building which has been recognised by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The UK also believes that the PA has the capability to run an effective, inclusive, accountable state. That is why it is so important that the PA now returns to Gaza to ensure that good governance is extended throughout the territory which will become a Palestinian state.
The UK is a leading donor to the Palestinian Authority and a strong supporter of its state-building efforts. We help build the capacity of a future Palestinian state to ensure that it can meet the needs of its people and act as a partner for peace with Israel. UK Aid to the PA supports the provision of education and health services in the West Bank. In 2018/19 UK support helped pay the salaries of 37,600 health and education workers. This enabled 26,000 Palestinians to get an education and delivered 3,300 MMR immunisations and 111,000 medical consultations. In 2019/2020, we will provide around £16m in humanitarian assistance to Gaza. This is supporting the health system, including improved trauma care, and contributing to emergency food aid for around 1.2 million vulnerable people.
Every Israeli and Palestinian has the right to live in peace and security. A just and lasting resolution that ends the occupation and delivers peace for both Israelis and Palestinians is long overdue. The focus now must be finding a way back to negotiations. We continue to encourage both sides to return to the negotiating table and resume dialogue.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
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