Cameron sitting out nonbinding Parliament vote on recognizing Palestine


(JTA) — Prime Minister David Cameron will abstain from a vote in the British Parliament on recognizing the State of Palestine.

The nonbinding but highly symbolic vote is expected to take place Monday in the House of Commons. There are 650 voting members of the lower house of Britain’s Parliament.

The measure is expected to pass.

Cameron’s official spokesman told reporters Monday that the vote would not change Britain’s policies toward the Palestinians.

“I’ve been pretty clear about the government’s position and it won’t be changing,” the spokesman said.

Jewish lawmaker Ed Miliband, head of the opposition Labor Party, has ordered all party lawmakers to vote in favor of the recognition, despite calls from his party to allow lawmakers to vote their consciences. Several Labor lawmakers reportedly will not attend the vote, according to the Daily Mail.

A Labor lawmaker, Grahame Morris, sponsored the motion.

Israeli-Arab lawmaker Ahmed Tibi was in Britain on Monday lobbying lawmakers to vote in favor of the measure. He said he would attend the vote.

Also, some 300 Israeli public figures signed a letter on Sunday calling on the British Parliament to vote in favor of the motion.

The vote comes less than two weeks after Sweden announced it would recognize the State of Palestine.

Seven European Union members already have recognized a Palestinian state. They are Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Poland and Romania.

In 2012, the United Nations General Assembly accorded Palestine non-member observer state status, de facto recognizing it as a state. Some 138 countries voted in favor of the resolution.

Recommended from JTA