Oxford MP Layla Moran has urged the government to formally recognise the state of Palestine, following widespread violence in Gaza.
Moran, who is the first British MP to be of Palestinian descent, said that hope “had died” this week – but that Britain could resurrect it through recognising the Palestinian state.
Her call for action came as funerals were held for the 58 Palestinians reportedly killed on Monday when Israeli troops opened fire during protests, in what was the deadliest day of violence there since the war in 2014.
Moran began her speech on a personal note, saying that if it weren’t for Nakba – the term Palestinians use to commemoration the displacement that preceded and followed the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948 – she might not be speaking there today, and that this compelled her bring the matter to Parliament’s attention.
She continued: “In between Hamas and a very extreme Israeli prime minister, we have the blood of children.
“The two sides are not meeting as equals among whatever peace process table. Now is the moment to give recognition to the Palestinians so that we have hope, because that is also what has died this week.”
Ms Moran held her head in her hand and was comforted by Green party leader Caroline Lucas as a foreign office minister, Alistair Burt, replied: “Recognition to the Palestinian state remains open at a time when it is best designed to serve the cause of peace and that will remain the UK’s position.”