The United Kingdom is actively deliberating the formal recognition of a Palestinian state, with a potential acceleration of the process, Foreign Secretary David Cameron has said.
Emphasising the need for a political roadmap for the Palestinians, Lord Cameron highlighted this as a crucial step towards fostering peace in the Middle East, according to BBC News.
During a speech at a Westminster event, he stressed the UK's duty to delineate the envisaged structure of a Palestinian state.
The former British prime minister underscored the importance of demonstrating tangible progress towards a two-state resolution for the Palestinian people, asserting the UK's role, along with its allies, in considering the recognition of a Palestinian state at an international level, including the United Nations.
"This could significantly contribute to making the peace process unalterable," he remarked at the Conservative Middle East Council gathering.
In the context of the ongoing tensions between Israel and Hamas, Lord Cameron called for increased humanitarian assistance in Gaza, criticising the current impediments to crucial aid deliveries at Israeli borders.
He also reflected on Israel's struggles over the past three decades, attributing a lack of lasting security for its citizens to its failures and insisting that acknowledging these shortcomings is essential for achieving peace and progress.
The UK has traditionally championed a two-state solution, envisioning Israelis and Palestinians living peacefully in distinct nations. However, Lord Cameron's proposal marks a shift, suggesting the UK might officially recognise a Palestinian state during, rather than following, peace negotiations.
He also mentioned the need for establishing a new, competent Palestinian authority swiftly to effectively govern Gaza.
"Equally vital is to provide the Palestinian populace with a clear vision of an inevitable move towards a two-state solution, especially the formation of a Palestinian state," Lord Cameron added.
As part of a long-term agreement, he suggested that Israel would need assurance of the release of all hostages and guarantees against attacks from Hamas, including the departure of its leadership from Gaza.
While acknowledging the challenges, he expressed optimism about the feasibility of such a deal.
Husam Zomlot, the head of the Palestinian mission in London, lauded Lord Cameron's statements as "historic," noting it was the first instance of the UK contemplating the recognition of a Palestinian state as a proactive step towards peace rather than as a negotiation outcome.
However, this proposition of expedited Palestinian statehood has sparked controversy among some Conservative MPs. Former minister Theresa Villiers voiced in the Commons that such premature recognition could inadvertently endorse the actions of Hamas.
Foreign Office Minister Andrew Mitchell clarified that the government's recognition of a Palestinian state would not be a unilateral decision but would occur in collaboration with international allies and at an appropriate juncture in the peace process.