Abbas: British gov’t should recognize Palestine on Balfour centenary

Ma’an News Agency | – –

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas released a statement on Thursday, the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, calling on the British government to “apologize to the Palestinian people for the suffering caused as a result of the Balfour Declaration a hundred years ago.”

“The second day of November marks the centennial of the disastrous Balfour Declaration, which, in 1917, the British government gave the Jews of the world a national homeland in Palestine while it was aware that Palestine is owned and inhabited by another people, the Palestinian people,” the statement said.

Abbas called the declaration “null and void” given that it ignored the national and political rights of the indigenous Palestinian people.

“The Palestinian people have suffered as a result of this promise,” Abbas said, highlighting the Nakba, or “catastrophe” in 1948, during which time the state of Israel was created, leaving some 750,000 Palestinians and millions of their descendants as refugees.

“Since then, the suffering and tragedies of the Palestinian people have not stopped, whether inside what was left of the land of Palestine, which has now been under occupation for 50 years, since 1967, or in the Diaspora and refugee camps,” the statement said.

Abbas went on to say that the “ responsibility for the displacement and suffering of the Palestinian people” belongs not only to the British government that issued the Balfour Declaration, but the current administration of UK Prime Minister Theresa May, who on Thursday celebrated the centenary in London with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“What is troubling today is that…the British Government insists on celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, persisting to openly confirm its colonial policies against our Palestinian people,” the statement said.

“We therefore reiterate our call upon the British government to publicly apologize to the Palestinian people for issuing the Balfour Declaration and to bear the consequences of making that promise by compensating the Palestinian people politically, materially and morally, recognize the State of Palestine and work toward ending the occupation from our land just as it sponsored the occupation state, Israel, on the land of Palestine,” the statement concluded.

Via Ma’an News Agency


Related video added by Juan Cole:

Al Jazeera English: “The Balfour Declaration explained”

One response

  1. As the world wrings its hands or simply ignores the Palestinian conflict, Israel continues to abuse the Palestinians and slowly but surely absorb the “occupied territories.” Soon, there will be no Palestine.

    Several Western states talk about a “two-state” solution but the Israeli state abhors that idea. In fact, a genuine two-state solution, with each state having a fair share of the land and Jerusalem becoming an international city or a joint, Judeo-Arab condominium would perhaps be the best solution possible now, but it is almost surely not to be. As John Greenleaf Whittier wrote, “For all sad words of tongue and pen, / The saddest are these, ‘It might have been’.”

    Israel calls itself a “Jewish state” but it is not, in the religious sense. In fact, 80% of Israelis claim that they are non-religious or secular Jews. They claim Jewish ethnicity and heritage but are not practicing Jews or in many cases not even believing Jews in any sense of the word.

    In fact, a large minority of world Jewry including a large minority of Israelis consider the Israeli state to be secular reality and an abomination before G-d’s face.

    Before World War II, Europe tried to reduce growing antisemitism by finding a way to open a route to Palestine for the Jews in Europe. After war, in which Hitler killed most of Europe’s Jews, the Great Powers created/facilitated the creation of the modern Israeli state, which was their unspoken solution for emptying Europe of the few Jews that remained.

    We have only to look at a map of the Middle East and of Africa to see what a catastrophe European colonization and hegemony has been (and continue to be) for those regions.

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