London’s Strong ‘No’ to Tel Aviv’s Policies

19 October 2014 | 18:20 Code : 1939784 Interview General category
An interview with Abdolreza Farajirad, a professor of geopolitics and an expert on international affairs
London’s Strong ‘No’ to Tel Aviv’s Policies

What is the objective behind the British House of Commons recognizing the Palestinian State?

The British parliament’s vote is very important. Although it is said that this vote would not impact the decisions made by the government, it is very significant. There are other cases which are adopted by Britain’s parliament and the government does not implement them, but this vote is different. Britain has played a major role in the Palestinian issue and establishing it as a state. More than 100 countries have, hitherto, recognized Palestine but there has never been such a reaction. The reason is that the recognition of Palestine by the parliament will be an introduction for the government to easily work with Palestine and establish relations with it. After the agreement which was reached in Gaza based on the issue that the government of Gaza and the West Bank should jointly work in the framework of a united government and the Prime Minister of Palestine would hold cabinet meetings in Gaza, Britain’s hand was more open to recognize Palestine with the reasoning that it talks with the entire Palestine. Therefore, the unity of the Palestinians played an important role in the vote of Britain’s parliament. But why did the parliament pursue this measure? The response to this question is related to the issues of the Middle East and Israel and the Netanyahu government’s radicalism. Western countries are not pleased with Middle Eastern radicalism. The European and western states attempted to restart the peace process by recognizing the two Palestinian and Israeli states. But when Netanyahu’s government came to power many of their hopes were lost. Naturally, the vote of Britain’s parliament is a slap on the face of Netanyahu’s government. Western countries consider the roots of the problems to be the radical measures of Israel against the Muslims. Thus, the West is concerned about the uncontrollable radical measures of Israel and attempts to create balance in the region in order to be able to advance their policies in the region. On the other hand, since the West has accepted the establishment of two states, there is no other option but to negotiate. This issue will be a leverage of pressure on Israel so that negotiations will seriously be held after the recognition of Palestine.

Israel has stated that Britain’s measure will create problems for the peace process. What impacts would this measure have on the peace process between Israel and Palestine?

Any time western countries take measures along the line of Palestine’s interests, Israel uses this method and states that such measures will have negative effects on the peace process. When Sweden recognized Palestine, Israel made similar remarks. Therefore, it is natural that Israel pursues such methods. But Britain is very important for Israel because Britain’s action could affect Europe and many commonwealth states. If there is any country among the commonwealth states which has not yet recognized Palestine, it may do so after Britain’s recognition. Therefore, it is not only Britain which has recognized Palestine; because other countries will take similar measures within the next days. On the other hand, Britain attempts to weaken the position of groups like the Islamic Jihad and Hamas, which believe in armed struggle, and strengthen the position of the Palestinian Authority. It can be said that Britain’s measure benefits Palestine and harms Israel.

France has explicitly approved the vote of Britain’s parliament but has stated that when the time is suitable for the establishment of peace, it will recognize the Palestine State. What has impacted France’s position in this regard?

In Britain, the parliament has recognized the state of Palestine but in France the government has made these remarks. Naturally, the opinion of the parliament in Britain will be an introduction to the positive view of the British government. But in France, the Zionist lobby is very strong and the French governments have always relied on this lobby particularly since the socialists in France have stronger relations with the Zionist lobby. Therefore, they speak with caution. Furthermore, the parliament in France does not play the role that the British parliament plays. In fact, the power and influence of the parliament in Britain are more than the French parliament. Of course, it is assumed that France will be bound to accept the independence of Palestine considering the great number of Muslims. It cannot have a radical position in this regard. Usually after certain important European countries take measures with regard to some issues, other countries follow suit. I believe that this is the trend that the European countries pursue in order to control the peace process which has been weakened by Netanyahu and prevent him from doing whatever he wishes to.

Right now the European Union has turned from the left to the right and based on the ideology of the rightists, the foreign policy of Europe in the Middle East will follow other paths because this front reiterates nationality. What impacts would the measure taken by Britain’s parliament have on the EU?

In northern Europe the right wing and the left wing are inclined towards Palestine. They pursue the path of dialogue to reach peace.  Therefore, it should not be assumed that the rightists are more inclined towards Israel. In Europe, public opinion is very important. During the past two decades, the public opinion of Europe was in support of Palestine. The reason was the expansion of social networks and television channels which reflected the killings of the Zionist regime. This issue has affected Europe’s public opinion, thus, forced the European governments, whether right or left, to follow suit. On the other hand, members of the European Parliament need people’s votes every four years; hence, they have pursued peaceful policies and consider resistance against the radicalism of Israel’s government as a positive point for their presence in the European Parliament. Furthermore, European governments have reached the conclusion after the Oslo Pact that the issue of Palestine must be solved through negotiations.

tags: Palestineisraelbritain


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