Corbyn urges Palestine recognition during conference

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Corbyn urges Palestine recognition during conference

The Labour leader spoke at the a pro-Palestine fringe event, before he is due to address Labour Friends of Israel on Tuesday

Justin Cohen is the News Editor at the Jewish News

Jeremy Corbyn speaking at the Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East fringe event
Jeremy Corbyn speaking at the Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East fringe event

Jeremy Corbyn has expressed hopes that the United Nations will take further steps towards “giving Palestinians the recognition they deserve”.

The Labour leader also used a speech to the Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East fringe meeting at party conference to again signal his readiness to recognise Palestine if he becomes prime minister.

Referring to the upgrading of the status of Palestine to an “observer state” in 2012, he told the gathering: “It was a very significant success for the people of Palestine – and hopefully one of a series of steps the UN will take to give Palestine and the Palestinian people the recognition they deserve.

“I was very proud to vote for that Palestinian recognition motion when it came before the House of Commons because I believe the Palestinian people need and deserve the recognition. It will help to bring about a long term recognition by the rest of the world and a real peace process that ends the occupation.”

He said a Labour government under him would “unceasingly strive” for political solutions to conflicts around the globe and would ensure “human rights and justice are the centre piece” of foreign policy.

“I’ve campaigned for decades in support of the rights of Palestinian people including refugees, for an end to occupation of Palestinian land and for the two state solution.

“This conflict has to be brought to a conclusion by the recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people, by the end of the siege and of course by the end of the settlement policy all over West Bank. Young people being brought up under occupation are being denied their youth, their chances and opportunity for economic development.” He didn’t refer to terror against Israelis or obligations on the PA, but did mention Israel.

Palestinian ambassador, Manuel Hassassian, drew huge applause when he said he expected Corbyn to enter Downing Street – and had “no doubt” PM Corbyn would move to recognise Palestine.

Hassassian said he believed the “infamous” Balfour Declaration – whose centenary will be marked next year – could be rectified through such recognition.

“Occupation will continue to be the causing factor of instability and insecurity in the Middle East,” he told the reception. “We cannot talk about fighting extremism and terrorism without resolving the Palestinian.”

While the Palestinians have refused repeated offers of talks, Hassassian said the PA was committed to peace but got only settlements in return. “We are going to sustain our steadfastness and going to continue or peace negotiations and we are going to be proud of our democracy and build our country.”

The shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said it was not possible to have a “viable state that looks like the hamster cage my daughter used to have. We have to make sure the roadblocks are taken away.”

She said Israel and the Palestinians need is “political solution. We have to get people back and talking seriously about how we get a two state solution”.

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