PA Threatening to Sue UK over 1917 Balfour Declaration
PA plans to sue the UK, for not only refusing to apologize for the 1917 Balfour Declaration, but for planning to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the signing, on November 2 this year.
by David Israel, JewishPress.com
April 26, 2017
PA ambassador to the UK Manuel Hassassian on Tuesday rebuked the UK government for not only refusing to apologize for the 1917 Balfour Declaration—which set the legal foundation for the establishment of a Jewish homeland in then Palestine, but, to add insult to injury, is actually planning to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the signing of the document, on November 2 this year.
Speaking to Voice of Palestine radio, Hassassian confirmed that the UK would hold official celebrations, along with the Israeli government, on the centennial anniversary of the document, despite the pleas from PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas that the UK not celebrate Balfour 2017. In a recent Arab Summit in Amman, Jordan, Abbas also asked the UK government to officially apologize to the Arabs instead.
The Balfour Declaration constituted a single paragraph in a letter dated November 2, 1917, from the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community, for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland:
“His Majesty’s government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”
The above text was published in the press on November 9, 1917, and was later incorporated into the Sčvres peace treaty with the Ottoman Empire, and the Mandate for Palestine.
According to the official PA news agency Wafa, Hassassian said there are a “number of attorneys in the UK” who have already begun taking steps to sue the government, but, of course, “if the UK backs down, apologizes to the Palestinian people and recognizes the state of Palestine, the issue of suing the UK will be cancelled.”
A Petition on the UK parliament’s petitions website, titled “UK must apologize for the Balfour Declaration & lead peace efforts in Palestine” has so far garnered 13,523 of the 100,000 needed to make the issue the subject of an official parliamentary debate. The deadline is 1 AM on May 3, 2017. So, like, good luck.
The petition preamble states: “We call on Her Majesty’s Government to openly apologize to the Palestinian people for issuing the Balfour Declaration. The colonial policy of Britain between 1917-1948 led to mass displacement of the Palestinian nation.”
The UK Government has responded to the petition with a statement saying, “The Balfour Declaration is an historic statement for which HMG does not intend to apologize. We are proud of our role in creating the State of Israel. The task now is to encourage moves towards peace.”