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HomePoliticsLabour manifesto pledge on Palestine: Israel suggests it 'rewards terrorists' - LabourList

Labour manifesto pledge on Palestine: Israel suggests it 'rewards terrorists' – LabourList

A potential Labour manifesto pledge to recognise a Palestinian state before the conclusion of a peace process faces criticism from both the Israeli government and a campaign group on the left of the Labour party.

Claims have been widely reported that Labour’s general election manifesto will include a pledge to recognise the state of Palestine ahead of the end of a peace settlement in the long-standing conflict.

Demands for recognition of a Palestinian state have heightened in the wake of Israel’s military actions in Gaza in response to the October 7 attacks. Spain, Ireland and Norway became the most recent countries to recognise Palestine last month, with pressure growing on other states to follow suit.

Dale Vince, now a major Labour donor, was among those welcoming the move, posting on X that if reports are true,” that’s an important, big step and is very welcome”.

But Israeli government spokesman David Mencer told the i newspaper: “Countries embarking on this path should ask themselves this simple question: does their action support peace-makers or does it reward terrorists?

READ MORE: ‘Labour must show on Gaza it truly understands voter anger’

“Eight months to the day since the horrors of 7 October and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have yet to find the time to condemn Hamas.

“All of us here in Israel are left with no other conclusion that the PA thinks what Hamas did on that black day was a good idea.”

Labour’s commitment has been written up by some media outlets as a bid to win back support from the party’s left, amid anger over the leadership’s stances on the Israel-Hamas conflict.

However, Labour’s support for Palestinian recognition has since at least last year been more caveated – and seemingly seen partly as a bargaining tool to help secure a lasting peace settlement – than Labour’s 2019 and 2017 manifestos, which had pledged to immediately and unilaterally recognise Palestine.

READ MORE: What is the Clause V general election manifesto meeting?

Labour Muslim Network called on the party recognise Palestine immediately in a brief statement on X.

A spokesperson for the Labour left pressure group Momentum told LabourList: “This is a weakening of Labour’s previous commitment to Palestinian statehood, not a strengthening.

“The manifesto Starmer stood on pledged to recognise a Palestinian state immediately. Labour reiterated this in 2022. Now, it’s just ‘at some point’ – this is not good enough.”

But Mike Katz, chair of the Jewish Labour Movement, noted Keir Starmer had previously said recognition must be an appropriate part of a process. “Clear this will rightly be party policy in next week’s manifesto, reflecting last year’s NPF stance,” he added, referencing the party’s National Policy Forum.

The Labour Party was not immediately available for comment.

Read more of our 2024 general election coverage here.

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