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Abbas to French Senate: Britain must apologize for the Balfour Declaration, accepts Israel's right to exist

Official PA TV, excerpt from PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ speech to the French Senate on Feb. 8, 2017

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas: "Yesterday [Feb. 7, 2017] the British government announced that it invited Israeli Prime Minister [Benjamin Netanyahu] to attend the ceremonies to mark the 100th anniversary of the issuing of the Balfour Promise (i.e., Declaration) in 1917. This is a matter that surprises us and which we condemn. We demand that the British government apologize to the Palestinian people for the destruction and expulsion that were carried out against our people. We also demand that it recognize the State of Palestine, as the British House of Commons voted to do in 2014. The government of Britain did not have a connection to the Middle East and Palestine in 1917. It said ‘we will give Palestine to the Jews as a national homeland.’ Now it [Britain] comes and holds a ceremony in honor of this. We say that such a decision gives to one who has no right, from one who is not the owner. However, the State of Israel exists. We cannot deny this, it exists! It does! However, the government of Britain, which sinned against our right and wrote in the Balfour Promise [interrupts himself] - it completely denied us in the Balfour Promise and did not mention us at all – it was expected that it would apologize, no less and no more… that it would recognize the State of Palestine. We do not ask more than that. However, when they announce celebrations and the like at the expense of the history of the Palestinian people, we will not accept that under any circumstances."

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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