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Call to urge MPs not to agree to Palestinian state

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Grassroots supporters of Israel have been urged to lobby their MPs ahead of a significant parliamentary vote on Palestinian statehood.

A group of pro-Palestinian MPs have secured a debate to call on the government to recognise Palestine as a state. Their motion will be discussed when the House of Commons returns from recess on October 13.

The We Believe in Israel group contacted supporters this week and asked them to make the case for a negotiated two-state solution to their parliamentary representatives.

It said there were "implicit risks" of recognising Palestine without a wider, agreed settlement.

In its email to supporters, We Believe argued: "If the Palestinians have their maximal positions endorsed by the UK and other countries, it will make it harder for them to compromise in the negotiation room."

Backing for a new state of Palestine could lead to the political and diplomatic isolation of Israel and a "legalistic, adversarial and zero-sum approach," the group said.

The political parties are expected to allow MPs a free vote. The result will not become government policy, but the success of the motion would be seen as a significant boost to pro-Palestinian campaigners.

Almost two dozen MPs who support Israel have tabled an amendment to the motion, calling for the formation of a Palestinian state only following a formal peace deal between the Israeli government and Palestinian Authority.

A spokesman for Labour's Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander said: "Labour does not support an immediate unilateral recognition of Palestine as a state by the UK outside of a wider process to secure a comprehensive, two-state solution."

Similar sentiments were expressed in a statement from the Foreign Office, arguing that "negotiations toward a two-state solution are the best route to meeting Palestinian aspirations in reality and on the ground."

The Zionist Federation, working with a coalition of organisations including the Jewish Leadership Council, said it planned to write to every MP next week, asking them to back the proposed amendment."

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