Sir Keir Starmer ‘strongly in favour’ of two-state solution after calls for him to snub Israeli ambassador

Sir Keir Starmer ‘strongly in favour’ of two-state solution after calls for him to snub Israeli ambassador
  • PublishedDecember 22, 2023

Sky News revealed the Labour leader was under pressure from Muslim members to take a firm stance after Israel’s Tzipi Hotovely rejected the prospect after the conflict with Hamas ends.

Sir Keir Starmer has insisted he is “strongly in favour” of a two-state solution after calls from the Labour Muslim Network to cut ties with Israel’s UK ambassador over her rejection of the policy.

In an interview with Sky News last week, Tzipi Hotovely dismissed the prospect of a two-state solution after the conflict in Gaza ends, telling Mark Austin “absolutely no”.

The remarks caused concern internationally, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak publicly disagreeing with the ambassador and insisting it was still the UK government’s goal.

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Sky News revealed on Wednesday that a group of Labour’s Muslim members had written to the party leader about what they called her “Islamophobic” comments, urging him to take a firm stance and have “no further engagements” with the ambassador.

Asked about the letter while visiting British troops in Estonia, Sir Keir said: “Let me be very clear in relation to what the ambassador said.

“We are strongly in favour of a two-state solution and that has to be something that international partners have to be very, very clear about and is not in the gift of Israel.”

Who wants a two-state solution?

A two-state solution has long been the desired outcome in the Middle East, not just of the UK, but of the US and UN.

They believe there should be an independent Palestinian state established alongside the existing one of Israel – giving both peoples their own territory.

It has previously been endorsed by Israel, but only if Palestinian military groups put down their arms – while Palestinians have said they would agree if they could police themselves.

But as the conflict rolls on following the Hamas attacks in Israel on 7 October, two Israeli politicians have now rejected the end goal.

“Israel knows today, and the world should know now that the Palestinians never wanted to have a state next to Israel,” Ms Hotovely told Sky News.

“They want to have a state from the river to the sea. They are saying it loud and clear. It’s now two months after the war started. The Palestinian Authority didn’t condemn this massacre (7 October). It’s such a big problem.”

Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary David Cameron said the UK government had made it “very clear” to Benjamin Netanyahu and his ministers that they must not do anything to jeopardise the prospect of a two-state solution.

The former prime minister is in Egypt holding talks over the conflict, and will visit Al Arish near the border with Gaza later as the government continues to call on Israel to allow more aid into the strip.

David Cameron hold a press conference, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Cairo, Egypt, December 21, 2023
Image:Lord David Cameron has been visiting Cairo to discuss the ongoing conflict in the Middle East

Speaking at a press conference alongside Egyptian foreign minister, Sameh Shoukry, Lord Cameron said: “We’ve been very clear with Israel, there can be no permanent occupation of Gaza, no displacement of people from Gaza, no diminution of the size of the Palestinian territories.

“All of those things would be wrong, and we’ve made that very clear.”

He added: “Obviously, it is difficult to get from where we are now to where we want to be.

“But sometimes you have to use moments of crisis as potential moments of opportunity.”


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