Monday 20th of May 2024

Will The UK Recognize A Palestinian State?
James Durso
Region : Israel-Hamas war,
Issue : Military Issues, Politics,
David Cameron, the United Kingdom’s foreign secretary, recently announced the UK may recognize a Palestinian state before the Palestinians and Israelis finalize a peace deal, but that “no such move could come while Hamas remains in Gaza.”
At the same time, the United States is reviewing options to recognize a Palestinian state after the war in Gaza, and French president resident Emmanuel Macron said recognizing a Palestinian state was “not a taboo,” hinting that France may make a unilateral decision despite Israeli opposition.
Why now? Well, the Brits are the original “eternal interests” guys and London probably senses a shift in the winds and is making ready for the future.
The UK green-lighted the Israel project in 1917, so Cameron may finally feel a measure of realism is in order as alleged Palestinian civilian casualties in the Israel-Hamas war exceed 30,000. Though London has been a supporter of Israel since its founding, it may be time to put some distance between London and Jerusalem as Israel self-immolates in the eyes of the world.
Cameron’s political party, the Conservatives, is doing badly in the polls and the next general election must be held no later than 28 January 2025, and changing its position on the birth date of a Palestinian state may align it with the British public, increasing numbers of whom favor a ceasefire and are sympathetic to the Palestinians. The Tories may also hope to make gains with British Muslims who may be 17.2% of the UK population by 2050. (Currently, Jews are 0.5% of the UK population; Muslims are 6.3% and are a younger population.) And today young Britons are likely to have an Arab or Muslim classmate who will explain the Palestinian side of the conflict.
And if “Global Britain” is still a thing, London should consider that being seen as “open, outward-looking and confident on the world stage” won’t be helped by reflexive advocacy of whatever it is Israel decides do to at a time when the Jewish state has lost enormous global support. The proverb, “He is known by his companions” may offer guidance in this regard.
Palestine has been called “the last unresolved issue of decolonization.” The UK, with a colonialist legacy, may understand better than the U.S. that anti-colonial feelings are still strong in much of the world, today known as the Global South, or the Non-Aligned Movement.
The U.S. does not understand anti-colonial sentiment mostly because it was a colony a long time ago, at least by American standards, and in the States ahistoricism isn’t a bug, it’s the operating system. But, regardless, shortly after independence, America started collecting its own colonies, such as the Philippines, the Hawaiian Islands, Guam, the Canal Zone, and Puerto Rico.
Recently, London tempered its alignment with Washington by abstaining from United Nations Security Council resolutions on a humanitarian pause to allow aid access Gaza, and a resolution demanding a ceasefire in Gaza.
The UK aligned with the U.S. in a recent hearing at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on “legal consequences” of the Israeli occupation of Palestine by declaring the ICJ lacked jurisdiction in this case, though it’s representative stated that Israel’s expanding occupation of Palestine is illegal under international law. Anti-colonial sentiment is still strong in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. London may be incrementally shifting its position and building bridges with the Global South at the cost of a temporarily peeved Israel and America, which will then be seen as the only impediments to Palestinian independence.
And London may want to get some of its back after bending to American pressure to remove approved Huawei telecommunications equipment from limited use in its 5G mobile networks after the U.S. threated sanctions in 2020. Thus, the UK was press-ganged into Washington’s economic warfare campaign against China, ending the “golden era” of relations that aimed to make China the UK’s second biggest trading partner within a decade. The Prime Minister at the time? David Cameron.
As a result, the UK “is in danger of becoming an also-ran” in the race to introduce 5G service, and is ranked 21 out of 25 developed country markets. According to the Financial Times, the 5G slowdown will endanger £173 billion in productivity improvements – after the mobile operators swallow the cost of the equipment rip-out and replacement.
Ben Wallace, then UK defense secretary, failed to secure White House endorsement to be NATO secretary general when the U.S. supported a fourth term extension for the incumbent, Norwegian Jens Stoltenberg.
And London is no closer to a U.S.-UK free trade deal with the Hibernophile Joe Biden in the White House, though the UK also struggled to get an agreement during the Donald Trump administration.
Special Relationship, indeed.
On statehood, the Palestinians always hold out for a better deal, and the Israelis hold out for no deal. Despite the recent huffing and puffing by President Joe Biden, the Americans won’t move without Israeli buy-in, which will take the form of giving Bibi the keys to the ammunition bunker and a U.S. concession on another issue such Jerusalem’s control of Palestinian access to the water of the Sea of Galilee. The United Kingdom, the country that led the fight to end slavery in the 1800s, can do itself a world of good by not lashing itself to the mast for the U.S. and Israel, two ungrateful countries that see any concession as their just due, and instead force the pace of the march to a Middle East peace deal that lasts.
This article originally appeared in the UNZ Review
The views expressed above belong to the author(s)

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