UK Parliament Recognizes Palestinian State

UK Parliament Recognizes Palestinian StateUK Parliament Recognizes Palestinian State

British lawmakers voted Monday in favor of recognizing Palestine as a state, a symbolic move intended to increase pressure for a "two-state solution".

Legislators in the House of Commons voted 274 to 12 to support the motion calling on the British government to "recognize the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel," AP reported.

Prime Minister David Cameron and other government leaders abstained, and more than half of the 650 Commons members did not participate in the vote.

But the motion had support from both government and opposition lawmakers, who said it could help kick-start the peace process following a summer war in Gaza.

Conservative lawmaker Nicholas Soames - grandson of World War II Prime Minister Winston Churchill - said that "to recognize Palestine is both morally right and is in our national interest."

The government said the vote would not change Britain's official diplomatic stance.

> UK Anti-Israeli Sentiments

Britain's ambassador to Israel says the British parliament's vote to recognize a Palestinian state shows the shifting public sentiment in Britain against Israel.

Matthew Gould told Israel Radio on Tuesday that the symbolic vote in the House of Commons reflects the view of Israel following the war in Gaza, which killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, the majority civilians.

Gould said: "I think it is right to be concerned about what it signifies in terms of the direction of public opinion."

In 2012 the United Nations General Assembly voted to recognize a state of Palestine on territories captured by Israel in 1967. But the United States and many European countries have not followed suit.

Earlier this month Sweden's new Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said his government would recognize the state of Palestine, an announcement that drew praise from Palestinian officials.