“I think it’s going to be a very long haul,” Conservative MP David Jones at the cross-party Abandoning Palestine conference on Wednesday.
“The position of governments of all stripes, frankly for some time, has been not to recognise Palestine until, as they put it, the time is right.”
Mr Jones said he thought it was “very hard” to see “when the time is going to be absolutely right” but that the UK had “an obligation to do our very best to resolve the problem of Palestine”.
“We’ve got a government that, like its predecessors, is committed to what it calls a two-state solution. That means serving the interests of both Israelis and Palestinians equitably. In order to do that you need fairness, and it seems to me quite impossible to see how Palestinians can negotiate successfully as the State of Palestine, if Palestinians are not themselves recognised as a state.”
Mr Jones is the chairman of the all-party parliamentary groups for the UAE, Jordan and Libya and of the Council for Arab-British Understanding.
He said he had repeatedly “pressed” in Parliament for the need to recognise the occupied territories as an independent state and that he was “out of step” with his party over reports by Amnesty International and the former UN special rapporteur in which Israel was called an apartheid state.
“The conditions that we have in Palestine are deeply worrying. It does seem to me that civil rights and human rights are being routinely violated,” the MP said.
“They’re reluctant to address the issue of apartheid, even though it’s an issue that has been raised by an organisation of which the UK was a founding member and which is the ultimate guarantor of security and civilised standards in this world.”
Mr Jones said he was concerned that resolving the Palestine problem had become less of a priority for global leaders than before.
“I think that those of us who are interested in pursuing equity for the Palestinian people need to be very much aware of the fact that it is slipping down the international agenda. I think the parliamentarians have a responsibility to keep putting it back up the agenda at Westminster.”