Keir Starmer Pledges to Recognize Palestinian State if Elected

Israel reacted strongly, labeling the move as a "reward for terrorism" and recalling its ambassadors from these countries.

Britain’s opposition leader Keir Starmer announced on Friday his intention to recognize a Palestinian state if elected in the upcoming general election.

However, he emphasized that such recognition must occur at the appropriate stage in the peace process.

This declaration followed Ireland, Spain, and Norway’s recent decision to recognize a Palestinian state on May 28.

Israel reacted strongly, labeling the move as a “reward for terrorism” and recalling its ambassadors from these countries.

Since the October 7 Hamas attack, which led to Israel’s invasion of Gaza, the Labour Party has been embroiled in internal conflicts over its stance on the Gaza war.

Starmer has faced criticism from traditional Labour supporters for gradually shifting the party’s position towards advocating for a Gaza ceasefire.

This shift in policy led to the resignation of 10 senior party members from their roles and contributed to disappointing local election results in areas with significant Muslim populations.

In an interview with the BBC, Starmer affirmed his belief in a Palestinian state, stating, “Yes, I do, and I think recognition of Palestine is extremely important.

We need a viable Palestinian state alongside a safe and secure Israel, and recognition has to be part of that.”

He reiterated that the timing of such recognition should align with the peace process, emphasizing the necessity of a two-state solution for lasting regional peace.

The two-state solution has been a cornerstone of British foreign policy and international efforts to resolve the conflict, though the peace process has stalled for years.

While the current Conservative government and major European nations like France and Germany support the principle of a Palestinian state, they also believe that its recognition should be part of a broader peace process.

This week, Labour endorsed the independence of the International Criminal Court (ICC) after it issued arrest warrants for Hamas and Israeli officials for war crimes.

This position contrasts with the Conservative government, which argued that the ICC lacks the jurisdiction to issue these warrants and that such actions would not facilitate the release of Israeli hostages from Gaza, aid delivery, or a sustainable ceasefire.