PA daily op-ed: Balfour Declaration was given "for colonialist imperialist reasons"
Excerpt of op-ed by Omar Hilmi Al-Ghoul, regular columnist for the official PA daily
Headline: “Europe’s obligations regarding the promise”
“It must be emphasized again that the Balfour Promise (i.e., Declaration)… was given for colonialist imperialist reasons that were defined at the 1905-1907 Campbell-Bannerman Conference (apparently refers to the 1907 Imperial Conference led by former British Prime Minister Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, the minutes of which disprove claims of a conspiracy theory to undermine the Middle East –Ed.). This conference consolidated the ideological, colonialist, political, and economic background for establishing a foreign body in the middle of the people of the Arab nation in order to fragment its solidarity, steal its resources, and prevent its revival…
The fact that 102 years have passed since the [issuing of] the ominous Balfour Promise has not made the Palestinian people forget its historical rights in its homeland… and it is still demanding its political rights to the land of its homeland. It has demanded from all of the European Union states, and especially Britain, as follows:
- An explicit and clear apology to the Palestinian people for giving the ominous promise.
- Immediate and direct recognition of the Palestinian state in the borders of June 4, 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and the guarantee of the Palestinian refugees’ right to return to their homeland on the basis of international [UN] Resolution 194.
- The imposition of economic, trade, and diplomatic sanctions on the Israeli colonialism state in order to force it to fulfill the demands for peace and the two-state solution.
- Compensating the Palestinians for their historical losses over the 71 years that have passed since the establishment of the State of Israel.
This is the minimum that the Palestinian leadership and people are prepared to accept.”
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.” In 1922, the League of Nations adopted this and made the British Mandate “responsible for putting into effect the declaration,” which led to the UN vote in favor of partitioning Mandatory Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state in 1947. In response, Britain ended its mandate on May 15, 1948, and the Palestinian Jews, who accepted the Partition Plan, declared the independent State of Israel. The Palestinian Arabs rejected the plan and together with 7 Arab states attacked Israel, in what is now known as Israel’s War of Independence.
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."