British Foreign Secretary William Hague says the UK will abstain in a vote on the upgrading of the status of Palestine at the United Nations unless the Palestinians commit to an immediate resumption of peace talks “without preconditions” with Israel.
In a statement to the House of Commons on Wednesday, Hague said Britain won’t back the Palestinian Authority bid to upgrade Palestine status from an observer entity to an observer state if Palestinians seek membership of International Criminal Court (ICC).
The observer state status will grant Palestinians access to UN agencies and the International Criminal Court where they can file complaints against the Israeli regime.
Meanwhile, reports indicate that many of the European Union states, including Austria, Denmark, France, Greece and Spain, are expected to support the Palestinian bid.
Palestine Solidarity Campaign spokeswoman Sara Apps said, “It’s shameful that Mr Hague is trying to put conditions on Palestine to prevent them from holding Israel to account for its war crimes. It’s about time Britain realized its historic responsibility to advocate for the Palestinians’ human rights. Israel breaks international law every single day of the year.”
Furthermore, Labour MPs accused Hague of “classic double standards” and offering Palestine “all the support short of actual support”.
Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander also said [referring to Hague’s stance] abstaining on the UN Palestine vote would surrender Britain’s responsibilities.
“When will the Foreign Secretary understand that statehood for the Palestinians is not a gift to be given, but a right to be acknowledged?” Alexander said.