British lawmakers on 13 October 2014 voted in favour to recognise Palestine as an official state. The vote saw 274 MPs in support of the motion, while 12 voted against. This move of the lawmakers would not alter the government policy but carries symbolic value as Palestinians pursue international recognition.
The non-binding motion that was passed in Britain’s lower house (House of Commons) by 274 votes reads - 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.
Although the motion was passed with an overwhelming majority but 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 says that it can change that position if it feels doing so would be constructive step to the peace process.
The vote was closely watched by Palestinians and Israelis seeking to gauge the readiness of European countries to act on Palestinian hopes for unilateral recognition by United Nations member states.
Palestinians want an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza, with its capital in East Jerusalem.
The debate on Palestinian statehood was first hosted by the House of Commons since 2012, after an online petition calling for the motion gathered over 100000 signatures.
Earlier in October 2014, the Swedish Parliament became the first EU country to vote in favour of recognising a Palestinian state.
The UN General Assembly in 2012 approved the de facto recognition of Palestine as a state but the United States, the European Union and most EU countries, including Britain, have yet not approved unilateral independence of Palestine.
When: 13 October 2014