PA daily: Children write letters to Queen calling Balfour Declaration a “sin” and “crime”
Headline: “Al-Fara'a youth write to British dignitaries on Balfour Declaration anniversary”
“Young Palestinians whose parents were exiled from their villages and towns in 1948 wrote to Queen Elizabeth II, [British] Foreign Minister William Haig, Ambassador [to Israel] Matthew Gould, national football team captain Steven Gerrard, and same-aged British children on the occasion of the 95th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. The young people sent their letters using their original addresses in the towns from which their parents were expelled during the Nakba (i.e., “the catastrophe,” the Palestinian term for the establishment of the State of Israel).
They demanded that the British dignitaries and Arthur James Balfour’s descendants apologize for what [the fact that] he promised to the Jews their [the Palestinians’] homeland on Nov. 2, 1917. During a conference sponsored by the Palestinian Ministry of Information and the People’s Services Committee in the Al-Fara'a refugee ramp, Mahmoud Hantash, originally from the village of Qanoun in Tulkarem, wrote, ‘Oh Queen, your ancestor Balfour gave our country to strangers, and because of that I lost my village and I can’t visit my grandfather’s house. I call on you to apologize for this great injustice.’
Omar Hantash, from the same village, sent a letter to the present Foreign Minister, William Haig, in which he called on Haig to atone for his predecessor’s sin, and to admit that [Balfour’s] promise was a crime against the Palestinian people…
Suheib Darawshe wrote to Queen Elizabeth: ‘Because of your ancestor’s declaration and your political maps, we lost Haifa – my grandfather’s city – and its sea. If someone were to attack a British city, you would accuse him of terror, but we have been slaughtered a hundred times by terrorist gangs who founded the state that you recognize.’ …
One of the letters was addressed to an imaginary mother named ‘Mary’: ‘I am 15 years old. In my whole life I’ve never been to the sea of Haifa, and even the Dead Sea was stolen from us because of your ancestor Balfour. Imagine, Madame, what it would be like if your son didn’t know the River Thames or had never held a pound sterling note. What would you do?’
The Tubas coordinator of the Ministry of Information, Abd Al-Basset Khalaf, said that the youngsters’ letters reflect the bitterness of the historic injustice that was done to them, and illustrate the wretched situation in which children suffer, since the occupation has imposed an oppressive routine [on their lives] … and has prevented them from living a free life like other children of the world.”
Note: 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 view 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.