We do see merit in a balanced UN Security Council resolution at the right moment, setting out parameters for a political settlement. But if such a resolution is to be part of a successful process, it must command the full support of the Security Council and, in particular, of the United States, which is the only power that has any leverage over Israel. Our judgment is that now is not the right moment for such an initiative, but I have regular discussions with my French and American counterparts on the middle east peace process. We will judge any proposal on the basis of whether it supports further progress in that process.
I am grateful to the Secretary of State for his detailed reply. Given that Mr Fabius will visit Israel and the Palestinian territories at the end of this month to push for a United Nations Security Council resolution to revive the peace talks between the two sides, what more can the Secretary of State do to convince the United States of America and his EU counterparts that it is now crucial to get Israel and the Palestinians round the table again?
I agree with the last part of the hon. Gentleman’s question: it is crucial that we move forward. The issue with timing is that until we have resolved the nuclear negotiation with Iran, which is an extremely sensitive issue in the middle east—including with Israel—our judgment is that we would be throwing away an opportunity to play an important card in the middle east peace process. We need to get the Iran thing dealt with first, and then we need to press the US Administration to deliver on the commitment that they have repeatedly made to us—that after the Israeli elections and the Israeli Government had been formed, there would be a new, American-led initiative.
We believe that European Union countries individually unilaterally recognising Palestine is throwing away an opportunity that the European Union has to exercise leverage by collectively holding out the prospect of recognition or non-recognition as a way of influencing behaviour.
Last Wednesday, the Minister of State, Department for International Development, the right hon. Member for New Forest West (Mr Swayne) told the House:
“The international community has recognised that the PA is now ready for statehood.”—[Official Report, 3 June 2015; Vol. 596, c. 575.]
When will the Government recognise the Palestinian state, in line with the vote of this House last October?