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PA President Abbas blames “ominous” Balfour Declaration for ‘injustice’ caused to Palestinians, demands apology from Britain

Headline: “The [PA] president on Nakba Day: Our people has foiled the attempts to erase [it] and [make it] disappear and still adheres to its rights”

“[PA] President Mahmoud Abbas yesterday [May 15, 2016] addressed a speech to our people, and also to our heroic prisoners that are waging the battle of freedom and dignity (i.e., hunger strike that began on April 17, 2017)…

Following is the text of the president’s speech:
‘Today we are marking the 69th anniversary of the Nakba (i.e., “the catastrophe,” the Palestinian term for the establishment of the State of Israel), the Nakba of 1948. This is not just a memory from the past that has ended, but rather a painful memory that continues [to influence] our lives. This is because our Palestinian people, which has paid the price of a history not its own, is still being subjected to the same injustice that began more than 100 years ago, at the time of the appearance of Zionism and its false narrative – a narrative that denied our existence on our land and that still denies our legal national rights, which are anchored in the decisions of the international bodies.
On this painful anniversary, it must be emphasized that the historical injustice that was caused to our people, and which continues to accumulate, began in fact with the ominous Balfour Promise (i.e., Declaration). Therefore, we call on the government of Britain to bear its historical and moral responsibility and not mark and celebrate the 100th anniversary of this invalid promise. Instead, it must submit an apology to our Palestinian people, which has paid a heavy price in its blood and homes as a result of this ominous promise and its implementation at the expense of our historical homeland and at the expense of our people and its legal rights.

Our people will only leave the Nakba behind after the recognition of its full legal national rights, without exception, and primarily the right of return, self-determination, and establishing an independent fully sovereign state on the June 4, 1967 borders, whose capital is East Jerusalem.
We have already explained at every opportunity that peace is our strategic option, but not at any price - only a just and comprehensive peace, which is based on the decisions of the international bodies and the Arab Peace Initiative, and will guarantee
Palestinians commemorate Nakba Day on May 15, the day after Israeli Independence Day. On May 15, 1948, combined forces from Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq joined Palestinian Arab forces in an attempt to eradicate the newly-established State of Israel. The Nakba (i.e. "the catastrophe) refers to the displacement of Palestinians that occurred as a result of this Arab war of aggression against Israel.

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.

UN resolution 194 (Chapter 11, Dec. 11, 1948) states that "the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return." Palestinian leaders argue this means that all Arabs who left Israel during the war (hundreds of thousands) and their descendants (a few million) have a "right of return" to Israel. Israel argues that the resolution only calls for a limited return and only under certain conditions, especially focusing on the words "wishing to return... and live at peace with their neighbors."