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UK MPs pass motion to recognize Palestine as a state

The British parliament voted in favor of a symbolic move to recognize Palestine as an official state, answering impassioned pleas by pro-Palestinian ministers and activists.

The vote, which took place on Monday evening, saw 274 MPs come out in support of the motion, while 12 voted against.

“This House believes that the Government should recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution,”
the motion reads.

A number of politicians chose to abstain from the final vote, including Prime Minister David Cameron and Respect MP George Galloway.

While the motion passed with an overwhelming majority, it does not signify an official change in Britain’s position regarding the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. The government may not officially recognize Palestine as a state, but Reuters notes that it can change that position if it feels doing so would be constructive to the peace process.

Despite many predicting that the motion would fall, MPs recognized it could set a precedent for the future of a Palestinian state. Some ministers, including Labour MP Grahame Morris, called it a “historic opportunity” to take a “small but symbolic” step to support self-determination for Palestine.

The debate on Palestinian statehood was the first hosted by the House of Commons since 2012, after an online petition calling for the motion gathered over 100,000 signatures.

The Swedish parliament also recently voted in favor of recognizing a Palestinian state earlier this month – becoming the first EU country to do so.

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