Scotland's full Member of the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee Alyn Smith has today (Wednesday) expressed his disappointment with a European Parliament vote nominally in principle in favour of Palestinian statehood.
Alyn backed the resolution but sharply criticised any suggestion by other MEPs that it is significant as "a cruel deception".
Alyn has been a long-term campaigner for a just peace in the Middle East, having grown up in the region and visited several times. Alyn, like the Scottish Parliament, is in favour of recognition of Palestine as a state, without making it contingent upon peace talks which are going nowhere, effectively giving a veto over the whole process to one side only.
"This motion has been gutted to such an extent it adds nothing new of substance, and merely reiterates the position the Parliament has taken many times before. It is welcome as far as it goes, and there were attempts to shut it down altogether on the wilfully boneheaded pretext that the EU should have no opinion on the Middle East peace process, but it should not be viewed as more than it is.
"There cannot be a two state solution without two states, and the recognition of Palestine has been made contingent upon talks that have been deliberately stalled. There is no peace process worth the name, and recognition will give a much needed impetus to the discussions. The EU has no formal competence to recognise Palestine as this is very much and very properly a member state competence, but it is important that a substantial majority of MEPs today expressed an opinion in favour.
"The work goes on, and I am glad of the very sensible comments of the EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini, but today's vote is just another step on the road. I am concerned that a number of MEPs have been pretending that this is somehow a formal recognition by the European Parliament of Palestine. It is not, because we simply do not have that power and the motion is so weak and contingent it brings nothing new to the discussion. To pretend that MEPs have somehow made a grand contribution today is a cruel deception."