"There is no peace process worth the name - we have a historic and moral duty to recognise Palestine as a state"
The Palestinian question has come to the forefront of European political debate in Strasbourg with the EU's new foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, adopting an ambitious position on the recognition of Palestine as an independent state.
Scotland's member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Alyn Smith, welcomed the High Representative’s engagement in the peace process and urged MEPs to back a resolution on the State of Palestine in plenary next month.
During the debate Smith said:
“This century-old tragedy has its roots in Empire. My own country, Scotland, and indeed the UK, has a bounden moral duty of obligation to the peoples of this region.
“Statehood has long been promised. This is not a new discussion. Right the way back to the Balfour Declaration of 1917, Balfour, a Scotsman, contemplated two states.
“The UK's own White Paper of 1939 said, and I quote: "The objective of His Majesty’s Government is the establishment within 10 years of an independent Palestine State”.
“And in Scotland, today, we support recognition – Government and Parliament, alongside many other countries.
"And to those that say negotiations with Israel should not be circumvented, now it’s not the right time, I say no, enough.
“That line has been used, and it is a line, to give Israel a veto over the whole process for too long. We need to change tack colleagues, there is no peace process worth the name and Israel's policies account for the lion's share of that failure, alongside our own hypocrisy and inaction. We must recognise Palestine urgently.”
After the debate, Alyn commended High Representative for Foreign Policy for her very lucid remarks on the Palestinian statehood.
“I was glad to hear from our High Representative that she too "questions Israel's commitment to a just and lasting peace" and pledge my support for Ms Mogherini ‘s efforts.
“Not just the Government of Scotland, Parliaments in Spain, the UK, Ireland have called for recognition of Palestine, alongside Sweden, who deserve much praise for their recent recognition.
“Recognising Palestine will be a much needed step shift in that dialogue in a region that is crying out for hope.
“Those who forget the lessons of history are destined to repeat their mistakes. We cannot walk away. We must put right the wrongs we committed.”
A video of the speech should display above, if not you can find it on Alyn's YouTube channel