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PLO official: Britain should oppose Israeli policies, especially because of upcoming anniversary of “the ominous Balfour Promise (i.e., Declaration)”

Headline: “Erekat condemned the positions of Britain and Australia and called on them to recognize Palestine”

“Today [Jan. 16, 2017] Secretary[-General] of the PLO Executive Committee [and Fatah Central Committee member] Saeb Erekat strongly condemned Britain and Australia’s reservations about the concluding statement of the Paris Peace Conference…

Erekat called on Britain and Australia to bear their historical, political, and legal responsibility and to recognize the State of Palestine. He added: ‘We expected that Britain in particular would fulfill a balanced and just role and be a central and active part of the international alignment opposing the occupation and settlement… especially since our people, which has been the victim of an unfair historical injustice, stands today at the gates of marking the 100th anniversary of the ominous Balfour Promise (i.e., Declaration). Therefore we call on [Britain] to correct this error and to recognize the State of Palestine, as this constitutes one of the conditions for protecting the two-state solution that it calls to implement.’”

Paris Peace Conference - A peace conference was held in Paris on Jan. 15, 2017, attended by representatives from over 70 countries, but with no representatives from Israel or the PA. The conference issued a declaration calling for a negotiated peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians based on the two-state solution and praising UN Security Council Resolution 2334. Britain and Australia refused to sign the declaration, with Britain arguing that the declaration, which was made as part of the French Peace Initiative, might harden the Palestinian negotiating position, particularly given its timing right before the inauguration of US President Donald Trump’s administration. The following day Britain blocked the EU Foreign Affairs Council from adopting the declaration.

The Balfour Declaration of Nov. 2, 1917 was a letter from British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Baron Rothschild stating that “His Majesty's government views with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” and is seen as the basis for later international commitments to establish the State of Israel.

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