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Palestinians demand that "Britain must apologize and mend the damages inflicted as a result of the Balfour Declaration"

Headline: “A vigil supporting the hunger striking and sick prisoners in the occupation’s prisons in Ramallah”

 

 

The article includes a picture of the vigil, in which people are seen holding a large poster.

Text on poster: “104 years since the Balfour Promise (i.e., Declaration)

‘Which was given by one who has no ownership to one who has no right,’ we will not forgive and will not pardon

- Britain must apologize and mend the damages that were inflicted as a result of the Balfour Promise

- November 11: On the anniversary of the death as a Martyr of commander [former PLO and PA President] Yasser Arafat we again emphasize the promise to continue the struggle

- November 15: On our independence day (see note below on Palestinian declaration of independence -Ed.) we again emphasize our oath and our promise to achieve our return

- November 29: On the [international] Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People we emphasize our people’s right of return and independence

- We reject the conditional funding of UNRWA (refers to US-UNRWA framework agreement, which includes a condition that US funding to UNRWA not be used to support terrorism -Ed.)

- UNRWA must be protected and its programs must continue to be provided in full until the return of the refugees to their homes according to [UN] Resolution 194 (see note below -Ed.)

The [PLO] Department of Refugee Affairs – the [PLO] Supreme National Committee to Commemorate Nakba Day (see note below -Ed.)”

 

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.

Yasser Arafat – Founder of Fatah and former chairman of the PLO and PA. During the 1960s, 70s and 80s Arafat was behind numerous terror attacks against Israelis. Although he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 together with then Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and then Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Shimon Peres “for their efforts to create peace in the Middle East" after signing the Oslo Accords peace agreement, Arafat launched a 5-year terror campaign - the second Intifada (2000-2005) – in which more than 1,000 Israelis were murdered. Arafat died of an illness in 2004.

Palestinian declaration of independence - On Nov. 15, 1988, before the Palestine National Council (PNC), the Palestinian parliament in exile in Algeria, Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Yasser Arafat declared the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. Although the borders were not specified in the declaration, it recognized the UN partition plan of 1947, which called for the creation of a Jewish state and an Arab state in the former British Mandate for Palestine.

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."

It should be noted that according to the UN Charter itself, UN General Assembly resolutions are only "recommendations" and have "no legal power that affects the outside world." UN Security Council Resolutions are only binding if they were adopted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. Resolutions adopted by the UN Human Rights Council are clearly prejudiced as noted by human rights expert Christine Cerna: “In my view Israel has a unique status in the UN Human Rights Council. Impartiality is not a requirement sought by the Council for the appointment of experts when it comes to Israel."

Nakba Day - Palestinians commemorate Nakba Day on May 15, the day after the establishment of Israel. On May 15, 1948, combined forces from Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq joined local Arab forces in an attempt to eradicate the newly established State of Israel. The Nakba (Arabic = catastrophe) refers to the establishment of Israel, and the subsequent defeat in the war, including the killing and displacement of Arab civilians that occurred during the war.