The Liberal Democrats have pledged to recognise Palestine “as and when it will help the prospects of a two-state solution”.
The commitment comes in the party’s manifesto, launched two days after Labour vowed to “immediately” recognise the state should it come to power.
Saying the party remains committed to a negotiated peace settlement leading to two states, it adds: “We condemn disproportionate force used by all sides. We condemn Hamas’ rocket attacks and other targeting of Israeli civilians. We condemn Israel’s continued illegal policy of settlement expansion, which undermines the possibility of a two-state solution.” During the last Gaza conflict, then leader Nick Clegg drew anger from Israel’s supporters by describing Israel’s actions as “disproportionate”.
Farron, speaking to the Jewish News last week, said he would defend Israel’s right to defend itself when attacked but reserved the right to call out the government “when it makes decisions we think are excessive and may actually make the situation worse”. He said many were too quick to condemn Israel’s failures “but very quiet when it comes to the terrorists that attack Israel and claim innocent lives”.
The manifesto also pledges to campaign to reduce intolerance including anti-Semitism with groups including the Anne Frank Trust. On refugees, the party pledges to expand the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Programme to offer sanctuary to 50,000 during the next Parliament and reopen the Dubs scheme to aid unaccompanied children in Europe.