AFTER several South American countries recognized an independent Palestinian state, Britain is now considering upgrading the Palestinian delegation in London to the status of a diplomatic mission.
The move, which would grant the Palestinian delegation with a status similar to that of an independent state, will turn the Palestinian delegates into diplomats for all intents and purposes.
Israel fears that the move may lead to a future British recognition of a one-sided Palestinian statehood declaration, following steps taken recently by Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador and Bolivia.
Should the move be completed, Britain would not be the first European country to recognize the Palestinian delegation as a diplomatic mission, as France, Spain and Portugal have already done so.
Nonetheless, Jerusalem was surprised by the potential British act in light of the fact that the Conservative government is considered pro-Israel. The government has been making many efforts in recent months to repair the relations between the two countries, which have been damaged in the past few years.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague even told Yedioth Ahronoth several weeks ago that the United Kingdom prefers to have the Israeli-Palestinian conflict solved through negotiations, and refused to address the possibility of a unilateral Palestinian statehood declaration.
The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed that it was looking into the possibility of upgrading the Palestinian delegation’s status. An FCO spokesperson said the matter was being examined thoroughly.