Melanie Phillips: Recognising Palestine won’t promote peace

British MPs should reject this dangerous proposal – just as the Arabs have so often done

With all the terrifying security issues now facing Britain, just what urgent topic is parliament debating today? Support for an independent Kurdistan, perhaps? Britain’s ties with Islamic State’s backers, Qatar? Whether Turkey should be expelled from Nato for refusing to help to fight Islamic State?

No. This afternoon a motion proposed by a group of backbench MPs wants the government to “recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel”.

On so many levels this is just nutty. The idea that Israel-Palestine lies at the core of global danger has been exploded (literally) in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and other Muslim states.

According to the motion’s main proposer, the Labour MP Grahame Morris, the international community has “cruelly refused” the Palestinians their right to a state and thus hindered peace and security in the region.

Totally untrue. The sole reason no Palestine state exists alongside Israel is that the Arabs have consistently refused to accept one. Such a state was proposed in 1937, 1948, 2000 and 2008. The Jews agreed to or promoted every such proposal. The Arab answer has always been rejection, war and terrorist campaigns.

The reason the peace process has now stalled is that even the supposedly moderate Mahmoud Abbas remains committed to exterminating Israel. He has repeatedly said the Palestinians will never accept the existence of Israel as a Jewish state. His Palestinian Authority glorifies those who murder Israelis and teaches children to hate and kill Jews. In 2012, its TV service broadcast Palestinian leaders applauding children singing: “Oh my pure land, I shall saturate you with my blood, redeem you with my life.”

Now Abbas is trying to turn diplomacy into a weapon of war by building international support to isolate Israel. Recognising Palestine, however, makes no sense as such a state has no agreed boundaries. Negotiations with Israel are supposed to hammer out the borders. Unilaterally declaring a state tears up the Oslo treaty that committed both sides to a negotiated settlement. Imposing Palestinian demands upon Israel in this way would destroy the peace process altogether.

Since Abbas has now embraced Hamas as a partner in the Palestinian Authority, MPs may also be about to recognise and thus legitimise a state part-governed by a terrorist outfit. And given current realities, if Israel withdrew from the West Bank it would instantly fall to Hamas (and maybe other Islamists, including Islamic State), thus enabling rocket attacks and terror tunnels just down the road from Jerusalem.

In addition, Palestinian leaders have repeatedly said (in Arabic) that Jews would not be allowed to live in Palestine. “When a Palestinian state is established it will be empty of any Israeli presence,” said Abbas in 2010. So how can British MPs support such racist ethnic cleansing?

Palestine has become the progressive cause of causes through an effective, decades-long campaign to twist western minds. It was Yassir Arafat who, in the 1970s, started to reframe the Palestinian Arabs as freedom fighters on the historically illiterate claim that they were the original inhabitants of the land.

Yet the Jews are the only people for whom Israel was ever their national kingdom, centuries before Islam invaded. Contrary to general assumption, the occupation and the settlements are legal, upheld both by the international law of defence against persistent belligerents and the unabrogated treaty obligations of the British Mandate for Palestine.

That will surprise many. For no other conflict has ever been so misreported and misrepresented; no other victims of a century of annihilatory aggression have been so demonised and delegitimised.

Last summer’s media coverage of the Gaza war, which caused a huge outbreak of anti-Jewish hatred, uncritically transmitted the Hamas falsehood that the vast majority of casualties were civilians. Analysis by Israel’s Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre shows that 49 per cent of fatalities were terrorists and 51 per cent civilians, a far lower civilian toll than in other wars.

Israel is the West’s one ally in the Middle East and is essential to British intelligence and military security. Passing today’s motion won’t itself change anything. But as a propaganda stunt, its capacity to do harm is immense. It will turn parliament into a human shield for Palestinian rejectionism, help to weaken and endanger Israel and incentivise yet more Palestinian hatred, mass murder and war.

In security terms, passing this motion would be an act of national self-harm. It would also be a moral stain on parliament and place Britain on the wrong side in the great battle for civilisation.