Labour changes manifesto to condemn Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel

But the party pledges it will immediately recognise the state of Palestine in a line strengthened since a draft of the document was leaked


Labour’s election manifesto includes a commitment to encouraging Palestinian terrorists to end rocket attacks on Israeli civilians.

A leaked version of the document last week took a pro-Palestinian approach to the conflict, focusing on Israeli actions and making no mention of Palestinian terrorism.

That led to a row in the Shadow Cabinet, with Emily Thornberry, Shadow Foreign Secretary, appearing to suggest her approach to the issue had not been adopted.

The manifesto, published today in Bradford by Jeremy Corbyn, makes clear the party would call for “an end to rocket and terror attacks”.

But the document makes clear a Labour government would “immediately recognise the state of Palestine”.

The party had previously only pledged to “support Palestinian recognition at the UN”.

A Labour Friends of Israel source described the stance on the Middle East as a “difficult win.”

The senior figure added: “In the leaked manifesto much was made of a 'humanitarian crisis' and there was a one-side blaming only on Israel.

“At least the actual manifesto shows more balance, with an acceptance that rocket attacks and stabbings in Israel are to be condemned.

“Tom Watson and others pressed the need for a balanced approach to the issue – and they appear to have been listened to.”

The manifesto states: “Labour is committed to a comprehensive peace in the Middle East based on a two-state solution – a secure Israel alongside a secure and viable state of Palestine.

“There can be no military solution to this conflict and all sides must avoid taking action that would make peace harder to achieve.

“That means both an end to the blockade, occupation and settlements, and an end to rocket and terror attacks.

“Labour will continue to press for an immediate return to meaningful negotiations leading to a diplomatic resolution. A Labour government will immediately recognise the state of Palestine.”

A paragraph in the leaked draft manifesto, which referred to the expansion of Israeli settlements, has been removed in full.

The manifesto says Labour is a party of “equality” which seeks to build a society “free from all forms of racism, antisemitism and Islamophobia”.

It adds: “We should all be deeply troubled by the rise in racially aggravated attacks and race hate crime this year. Antisemitic incidents are also on the rise once more and we are committed to combating this trend with adequate resources and firm political will.”

In a reference to the allegations of antisemitism in the party over the past two years and the subsequent Chakrabarti inquiry into Jew-hate in Labour, the document includes lines leaked last week and says: “Commissioning a report on our own party was an unprecedented step in British politics, demonstrating a commitment to tackling prejudice wherever it is found.

“Labour is already acting on recommendations, including reform of internal disciplinary procedures to make them firmer and fairer, and expansion of training to tackle antisemitism.

“On a matter of such importance, Labour urges all democratic political parties to do the same.”

Labour also pledges to recognise the efforts of Jewish soldiers who fought in the First World War.

“We will continue to mark the ongoing centenary of the First World War, and the sacrifice of all those who died during it. Labour remains committed to honouring the role of all who have served our country, including the Sikh, Hindu, Muslim and Jewish soldiers who fought for Britain,” the document says.

Last week’s draft had omitted the word “Jewish”, but it has now been added.

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