“In order to help make the two-state settlement a reality we will recognize a Palestinian state as soon as we take office,” Corbyn said on Wednesday afternoon at the Labour Party conference in Liverpool, northwest England.
Corbyn received a standing ovation when he made the announcement, and people waved Palestinian flags from the audience.
An open critic of Israel’s crimes against the people of Palestine, Corbyn has drawn fire from his opponents by speaking in favor of the people of Palestine and against Israel’s repressive policies.
In June, Corbyn announced his government would make the shift in foreign policy during a visit to Jordan. “I think there has to be a recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people to their own state which we as a Labour Party said we would recognize in government as a full state as part of the United Nations,” he said.
Corbyn’s Wednesday statement made clear the recognition of Palestinian state would be done immediately.
Speaking at a pro-Palestinian rally in London last year, Corbyn said that the UK must recognize Palestine as a state, and criticized the British government for celebrating the 100-year anniversary of a document that paved the way for Israel’s creation.
In November last year he refused to take part in a series of events held by British Prime Minister Theresa May to commemorate the centenary of the 1917 Balfour Declaration, a short 67-word letter named after then British Foreign Minister Arthur James Balfour.
“Let us mark the Balfour anniversary by recognizing Palestine as a step toward a genuine two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict,” the main opposition leader said.
“We must increase international pressure for an end to the 50-year occupation of the Palestinian territories, illegal settlement expansion and, of course, the blockade of Gaza,” he added.
Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state in the territories of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem al-Quds, with the latter as its capital.
In November 2012, the United Nations General Assembly voted to upgrade Palestine’s status from “non-member observer entity” to “non-member observer state” despite strong opposition from Israel.
The Palestinian national flag was also hoisted for the first time at the UN headquarters in New York in September 2015.
However, Palestinian efforts for statehood have been hampered due to Israel’s illegal settlement activities in the occupied lands and Washington’s latest anti-Palestinian measures, among them US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as the “capital” of Israel and relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds.
Israel lays claim to the whole Jerusalem al-Quds, but the international community views the city’s eastern sector as occupied territory.