Britain has an historic and moral duty to recognise Palestine as a state, a former International Development Minister has said.
Sir Alan Duncan insisted shame had been brought on the UK by its decision to stand back from taking a decision on the issue given its historic responsibility in the Middle East.
MPs will be asked to support moves urging the Government to recognise Palestine as a state alongside Israel during a backbench business debate in the Commons today.
An amendment has been tabled to the motion suggesting this step should be taken once peace negotiations have successfully concluded.
Sir Alan, Conservative MP for Rutland and Melton, told Murnaghan on Sky News: “I think we have an historic and moral duty to recognise Palestine. There’s no reason not to.
“We recognised Israel in 1948 after a rather nasty civil war there, and now for too long Palestine has been occupied, they are living a miserable life, the Israelis – illegally – are continuing bit by bit to build on land which is not theirs and it’s high time the world recognised Palestine as 134 out of about 160 countries have already done in the United Nations.
“I think it rather brings shame on us that with our historic responsibility following the British mandate over that part of the world, we have sort of stood back from taking what I think is an important moral step in recognising Palestine as a state.”
Sir Alan was critical of Israel for building illegal settlements and insisted recognising Palestine would be an important contribution to the peace process.
He said: “What in fact we are doing by not giving them recognition as a state is giving in to illegality and to bullying and I think that is something politicians should not subject themselves to.
“I think we need to show more moral courage and make a stand on behalf of Palestinians who have been so badly treated for so long.”
An international donors’ conference to help Gaza rebuild after the Israel-Hamas war this summer opened this week in Cairo.