Keir Starmer 'set to push for Palestinian state' before peace talks are over in Labour's General Election manifesto

6 June 2024, 23:01

The UK will recognise Palestine as a state under Keir Starmer
The UK will recognise Palestine as a state under Keir Starmer. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

Sir Keir Starmer is expected to announce Labour's support for a Palestinian state in the Labour General Election manifesto.

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Labour are also expected to call for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza in the manifesto, due to be released next week.

The party will also say that "a neighbouring country" - understood to be Israel - should not be allowed to veto the granting of Palestinian statehood, the Guardian reported.

Israel said earlier this year that it opposes other countries recognising a Palestinian state without direct negotiation with the Israeli government.

The Conservatives have also floated the possibility of "recognising a Palestinian state, including at the United Nations." Earlier this year, Foreign Secretary David Cameron argued the move could deliver "irreversible progress to a two-state solution."

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Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer. Picture: Alamy

The official government position is that "the UK will recognise a Palestinian state at a time of our choosing, and when it best serves the objective of peace."

In recent weeks, Ireland, Spain and Norway all announced they were recognising a Palestinian state, which led to an angry response from Israel.

Sir Keir, who inherited a party that had been criticised for being soft on anti-Semitism, has angered some Muslim voters and those on the left-wing of the party with his support for Israel in its war in Gaza, in which tens of thousands of people have died.

The backlash was reflected in some of the local election results in May, which saw Labour lose council seats in some heavily Muslim areas. Labour also lost the constituency of Rochdale to George Galloway, who campaigned heavily on the issue of Gaza.

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This move may be seen as an attempt to restore some support to Labour among key groups of voters.

Israel and the US have proposed a ceasefire with Hamas, although some members of the Israeli government have rejected the plan.

Earlier this year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that after the war, his country would be responsible for security in Gaza indefinitely.

Under his plan, only Gazans with no links to groups that are hostile to Israel would be allowed to administer the territory.

Israel has said that it objects to third-party countries recognising Palestine.

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In a statement made in February, the government said: "Israel will continue to oppose the unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state.

"Such recognition in the wake of the Oct 7 massacre will grant a huge, unprecedented reward to terrorism and prevent any future peace accord."

Other promises expected to be included in the manifesto include a pledge to lower the retirement age for ambulance drivers, and to "drive down" net migration.

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