PA Supreme Shari’ah Judge denies Jewish connection to Palestine: Balfour – an “anti-Semite” - brought foreigners “with no connection to the land, planted them “like thorns”
Supreme Shari’ah Judge and Chairman of the Supreme Council for Shari'ah Justice Mahmoud Al-Habbash: "Tomorrow is the anniversary of the so-called Balfour Promise (i.e., Declaration). The promise given by one who is not the owner to one who has no right to it. Foreign people were brought [here] who have no connection to this land. Neither historically nor religiously. They were brought from all over the world and planted in the heart of this land like thorns, like pikes, on the basis of the so-called 'Balfour Promise' that granted a so-called 'national home for the Jews' in Palestine… Balfour, did not love the Jews. He was – [one of those who] were called anti-Semites. He was hostile to the Jews… He wanted to create an imperialist situation in the Islamic Arab Eastern region, and wanted to be rid of the Jews. [Therefore] he issued this promise, the cursed promise."
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.
At the end of the 19th century, the land of Israel was a mostly barren and undeveloped land, largely neglected by the Ottoman Empire. The following are eyewitness accounts of people who visited the area at the time.
In 1867, American author Mark Twain wrote: "Of all the lands there are for dismal scenery, I think Palestine must be the prince… It is a hopeless, dreary, heart-broken land… Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes. Over it broods the spell of a curse that has withered its fields and fettered its energies… Nazareth is forlorn; about that ford of Jordan where the hosts of Israel entered the Promised Land with songs of rejoicing, one finds only a squalid camp of fantastic Bedouins of the desert; Jericho the accursed, lies a moldering ruin, to-day, even as Joshua's miracle left it more than three thousand years ago… Renowned Jerusalem itself, the stateliest name in history, has lost all its ancient grandeur, and is become a pauper village… Capernaum is a shapeless ruin; Magdala is the home of beggared Arabs; Bethsaida and Chorazin have vanished from the earth… Palestine is desolate and unlovely." [Innocents Abroad, by Mark Twain, 1869]
In 1888, Sir John William Dawson of England wrote: "No national union and no national spirit has prevailed there. The motley impoverished tribes which have occupied it have held it as mere tenants at will, temporary landowners, evidently waiting for those entitled to the permanent possession of the soil." [Sir John William Dawson 1888, cited in Modern Science in Bible Lands, New York 1890, pp. 449-450] Yussef Ziah el-Khaldi, a mayor of Jerusalem during the Ottoman period, wrote to then Chief Rabbi of France Zadok Kahn saying that while he recognized the Jews' historical claims to the land of Israel, "it is inhabited by people other than Israelites." The letter was passed to Zionist leader Theodor Herzl, who responded that the Jews "are a peace-loving people, happy to be left in peace," and added: "You see another difficulty in the existence of a non-Jewish population in Palestine. But who would want to expel them? Their well-being and individual prosperity will increase as we bring in our own." [Zionism at 100: The Myth of Palestine as "A Land Without People", Washington report on Middle East Affairs, March 1998]
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