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19 Mar, 2015 15:22

​Britain must officially recognize Palestine if Israel drops 2-state solution, says Clegg

​Britain must officially recognize Palestine if Israel drops 2-state solution, says Clegg

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has called on the British Parliament to formally recognize a Palestinian state following Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s last-minute election promise not to pursue a two-state solution.

Speaking during his weekly radio phone-in, Clegg described Netanyahu’s election pledge as “extremely worrying.”

The Liberal Democrat leader said he hoped the “desperate attempt” to win votes was “breathless rhetoric.”

However, he warned if Netanyahu, leader of the right-wing Likud party, carried out his threats, then the British Parliament would have “no choice” but to officially recognize Palestine.

The Likud Party won a surprise victory on Wednesday, claiming 30 seats in the 120-seat parliament, the Knesset.

READ MORE: White House pushes Palestinian statehood in face of Netanyahu win

While the Israeli right welcomed the result, Netanyahu’s critics accused him of resorting to scaremongering and fear tactics during the intensely confrontational election campaign.

Netanyahu drew the ire of many when he warned supporters of “Arab voters” in a Facebook video on election day.

Right-wing rule is in danger. Arab voters are going to the polls in droves. Left-wing organizations are bringing them in buses,” he said.

Israeli-Arabs make up 20 percent of Israel’s population and are often discriminated against.

Condemnation was especially aimed at his decision to rule out a two-state solution to the Palestinian question.

Even the White House, which grew increasingly exasperated during Netanyahu’s vitriolic campaign, attacked the Israeli Prime Minister for his pledge.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said: “It has been the policy of the United States for more than 20 years that a two-state solution is the goal of resolving the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians.”

Clegg aligned himself with President Barrack Obama’s comments during his weekly LBC Radio phone-in, distancing himself from British Prime Minister David Cameron’s positive reaction to Netanyahu’s re-election.

READ MORE: Netanyahu’s Likud claims 'victory against all odds' in Israel elections

I actually share President Obama’s views much more than David Cameron’s. I think it’s extremely worrying,” Clegg told listeners.

The whole push for peace for decades now has been premised on the basis that at some point an Israeli nation and a Palestinian state can be created to live in peaceful co-existence with each other.”

It is an astonishing thing that he has departed from that long, long tradition and I think it is quite right that the White House expressed serious misgivings about that,” he added.

Clegg went on to suggest the UK Parliament should vote in favor of recognizing a Palestinian state.

If he carries out his threats to basically rule out a two-state solution and expand illegal settlements then I think the world, including the British Parliament, would have no option but to recognize the Palestinian state.”

The Deputy Prime Minister added: “It cannot be right given that is the crucible of so much violence and division across so many communities, that one man in what I assume was a desperate attempt to carry some votes, should basically tear up the basic tram lines on which a peace deal is likely to occur.”