Britain ‘must follow Ireland’s lead’ and recognise state of Palestine, says SDLP leader

Britain ‘must follow Ireland’s lead’ and recognise state of Palestine, says SDLP leader

BRITAIN’S next government must follow Ireland’s lead and recognise the State of Palestine, claims the SDLP’s Colum Eastwood.

The party leader, who is standing for election in Northern Ireland’s Foyle constituency, called for the next administration to “take risks” in a bid to bring peace back to the embattled Middle East.

“Now as it looks increasingly likely that there will be a new government in Britain, I will be using my influence to press for a new administration to follow the lead of Ireland, Norway and Spain and  recognise the state of Palestine as an important step in advancing a new peace process that provides dignity, safety and space for the pursuit of the legitimate ambitions of both peoples,” he said.

“We all have a responsibility to act for peace and to bring this genocide to an end,” he added.

“Labour governments have taken risks for peace before - SDLP MPs will press them to do the same for the people of Gaza.”

Last month Mr Eastwood wrote to British Foreign Secretary David Cameron - ahead of a vote on whether Palestine met the criteria for admission to the UN General Assembly - urging the former Prime Minister to “recognise the legitimate aspirations of both peoples”.

This week he joined peace activists at a demonstration at the Grianán of Aileach site in Co. Donegal to “send a message of solidarity to tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza who are living in the middle of a genocide”.

“The people of Derry and people across this island stand steadfast against the horrors being inflicted on innocent people by the government of Israel and Hamas,” he added.

“The SDLP’s long standing view is that the only path to peace in the region is based on a durable and sustainable two-state solution,” Mr Eastwood explained.

“That must begin with recognition of the legitimate aspirations and rights of both peoples in the eyes of the international community.

“That is why I wrote to the British Foreign Secretary last month urging him to reverse his government’s decision to abstain on Palestinian statehood and membership of the United Nations.”