A Labour government would recognise an independent state of Palestine as soon as it takes office, Jeremy Corbyn has said. Corbyn gave his backing for a Palestinian state during a fringe event organised by Labour Friends of Palestine at the party's annual conference in Liverpool. The opposition leader said that he wanted to see a "secure and viable" Palestine alongside Israel.
In his address, Corbyn denounced President Donald Trump for moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and for cutting funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). The agency provides humanitarian assistance and essential education, health and other services to over five million Palestinian refugees.
Calling for a "sustainable, just peace" with Israel after "51 years of occupation," Corbyn pointed out that "peace cannot be achieved with the existence of settlements, human rights abuses, and a disregard for international law by the current Israeli government, like last Sunday's [announcement of the] demolition of the Palestinian village of Khan Al Ahmar." The residents of the village in the occupied West Bank were told that they had until the beginning of October to leave their homes before they are demolished.
"The security of one country can never be achieved at the expense of another and Britain has historic responsibility towards the Palestinian people," Corbyn told the audience. "We will continue to stand up for Palestinians, we will recognise an independent state of Palestine as soon as we take office."
Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry echoed the party leader by saying that an independent Palestine was needed "while there is still some Palestine left to recognise." She also highlighted the toll that the conflict was taking on children in both Israel and Palestine.