Jerusalem: Israel today rejected a vote by the British parliament to recognise Palestinian statehood, saying the move undermines prospects of peace between the two sides.

The UK voted for a non-binding motion to “recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution”.

Reacting to the development, Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzachi Hanegbi said that the vote in the British
parliament will not help the Palestinians have a state.

“This won’t work. No Israeli government will accept significant risks in Judea and Samaria without a treaty. The Palestinians are not holding real negotiations and they’re losing time,” Hanegbi told the Army Radio.

The deputy foreign minister called upon the Palestinian leadership to act like former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and former Jordanian king Hussein and analyse the needs and risks of each side in trying to reach a compromise.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry said that the vote undermines chances for peace because Palestinian statehood should result only from talks with Israel.

The opposition, however, blamed the government and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for Israel’s increasing isolation in the international community.

Israel must work for a diplomatic solution to avoid international condemnation, opposition leader Isaac Herzog said in his response.

“This is another echoing failure from Netanyahu and (Foreign Minister Avigdor) Liberman. A cold wind is blowing toward Israel from every corner in the world, but they refuse to deal with the hard facts and are bringing a diplomatic storm,” Herzog said.

The Labour Party head said that if he were the Prime Minister of Israel, he would adopt the Arab Peace Initiative as Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi suggested on Sunday during a Gaza donors conference.

“Netanyahu prefers to confront the whole world, from [US] President [Barack] Obama to other friends, in order to distract the public from his failure in lowering the cost of living and housing,” Herzog stated.

His party colleague lawmaker Nachman Shai called the vote “a painful slap in the face.”

“The British Parliament’s decision following the (statements of) government of Sweden proves that the world is moving toward unilaterally recognising a Palestinian state,” Shai said.

Sweden recently made an announcement recognising Palestine but retracted immediately under pressure from Israel saying they back the creation of a Palestinian state through peace negotiations between the two sides.

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