In a UK parliamentary debate yesterday, Conservative MP, Robert Halfon, posited the “Jordan solution” as an answer to the question of a Palestinian state. The debate, titled the Middle East and North Africa, saw a number of MPs from all parties take part covering a range of countries, but given current events in Gaza most contributions focused on the conflict underway in the Strip.
Halfon, MP since 2010 and prior to that political director of Conservative Friends of Israel intervened in the debate to ask if “one issue involving the Palestinian state could be solved if Jordan were a Palestinian state.” Although MPs did not respond directly to Halfon, his comments suggest a worrying lack of understanding of the issues on the ground, specifically that the Palestinians are entitled to a state under international law and even the UK government acknowledges a 2 state solution, where one of those states would be Palestinian. Clearly Halfon’s comments were not in line with official Foreign Office policy or even Prime Minister David Cameron’s thoughts.
Despite Halfon’s comments, his colleague Bob Stewart, conservative MP for Beckenham went on the record to say that “the problem with the two-state solution is that it looks almost impossible to enact. Given the number of settlements—many of them illegal—in the West Bank, I just cannot see how we can carve out a two-state solution. We may well have to have a one-state solution where all are equal.” Although perhaps not in line with official foreign policy, former Foreign Secretary William Hague, has on a number of occasions noted that the window on the two state solution is indeed closing.
The debates focus on Gaza led a number of MPs to call on the UK government to take serious action in response to the Israel’s continued violations. One MP, Grahame Morris chair of Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East said that “sanctions (should be brought in) when Israel does not comply.”