No poodle politics please. Britain needs to stand up and be counted over Palestine

Tomorrow William Hague will stand up in the House of Commons and declare  Britain is going to abstain in the UN vote on Palestinian statehood. Britain’s abstention is shameful, an act of betrayal and a lost opportunity.

It really doesn’t matter if the US is going to veto the application – which it will. American politics is dysfunctional: in matters concerning Israel and Palestine, Netanyahu controls Congress. Through organisations such as AIPAC he’s able to get Congress to do exactly what he wants. By abstaining we are effectively following the American / Netanyahu line – why? Why do we have to be their poodle? Don’t we have a mind of our own? Isn’t it time we stood up for the Palestinians? Isn’t this a heaven sent opportunity to stand up and be counted and to change the dynamic of future negotiations? What’s the problem? Are our politicians under the influence of the Israeli lobby too?

According to a diplomatic source, Realpolitik means it is impractical to go ahead now. A symbolic act won’t bring into being a Palestinian state if that doesn’t relate to anything on the ground,” the source said. “It can do damage by raising expectations.”  What complete and utter drivel! This is anything but a symbolic act. What’s happening on the ground is that the building of settlements is being speeded up. And anyway, isn’t it time we went out of our way to deliberately raise Palestinian expectations? To let the Palestinian people know that Britain is prepared to stand up against those who want to prolong their suffering and destroy their expectations?

The real realpolitik is that Netanyahu has absolutely no intention of ever starting the peace process again. He’s not the least interested in a two state solution – or any solution. He’s only interested in absorbing the Occupied Territories into Greater Israel. A Palestinian state is anathema to him and the fate of the Palestinian people is of little consequence. The real realpolitik is that Netanyahu is prepared to use every trick in the book to get his way and to sucker America into doing his bidding. We should have no part in that. We need to distance ourselves from the American / Netanyahu line. We have the opportunity to do so by voting ‘Yes’ and supporting the Palestinian application for statehood. We should do so.

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