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Palestinian Authority planning global protests of Balfour Declaration centenary

Balfour Declaration being read
Palestinians to request official apology from British government for 1917 declaration

The Palestinian Authority will launch in the coming days a worldwide campaign protesting the 100-year anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, which paved the way for the creation of an independent Jewish state, including major demonstrations in Israel, the Palestinian territories, and the United Kingdom.

The campaign includes a major demonstration in London planned for the first week of November, as well as a formal request to the British government for an official apology, the Haaretz daily reported Thursday.

The request will be presented by Palestinian Authority officials to the British consul in Jerusalem, who will present letters written by Palestinian children calling on Prime Minister Theresa May to recognize the consequences of the declaration, the suffering of the Palestinian people, and to affirm the Palestinians' right to self-determination and the establishment of an independent state within 1967 borders.

The plan was presented by senior Palestinian Authority and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) officials in a meeting with ambassadors at the PLO headquarters in Ramallah on Tuesday.

Mohammed Abed (AFP/File)

Israeli lawmaker Aida Touma-Suliman of the Arab Joint List party also attended the meeting and presented the position of the Israeli-Arab public, Haaretz said. She told the paper that a major demonstration in Israel is planned for November 7 in front of the British embassy in Tel Aviv.

Touma-Suliman defended her attendance at the meeting, telling Haaretz: "I was elected to the Knesset to represent the voters and to fight for principles and my party’s political program."

"Besides the fact that Britain had no right to the country, the declaration paved the way to my people’s Nakba," she told the paper, using the Arab word for "catastrophe" which is used to refer to Israel's 1948 War of Independence.

The Balfour Declaration, published in 1917, was conveyed in a letter addressed by British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Lord Walter Rothschild, a prominent member of the British Jewish community, in which he proclaimed that Britain would support Zionist aspirations by facilitating the establishment of “a national home for the Jewish people.”

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By declaring Britain to be Zionism's patron, Balfour's signature completed a process begun twenty years earlier at the First Zionist Congress, held in 1897 in Basel, Switzerland. The Balfour Declaration led the League of Nations to entrust the United Kingdom with the Palestine Mandate in 1922.

Israel declared independence on May 14, 1948, a day before the British mandate was set to expire.

The British Embassy in Israel rejected criticism over its marking of the declaration's centennial anniversary, which included a celebratory reception held at the British Ambassador's residence on Wednesday.

It referred Haaretz to a statement made by Prime Minister Theresa May in an address to parliament, in which she stated: "We are proud of the role that we played in the creation of the State of Israel, and we will certainly mark the centenary with pride."

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She did note the sensitivity of the anniversary, adding: "We also must be conscious of the sensitivities that some people do have about the Balfour Declaration. We recognize that there is more work to be done."

The Palestinians have made multiple requests for a formal apology over the Balfour Declaration in the past. Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas called for an apology during an address the the United Nations General Assembly in September 2016, but the request was reportedly rejected.

The Palestinians in July 2016 asked the Arab League for support in filing a lawsuit against the British Government for publishing the Balfour Declaration in 1917.

(Staff with agencies)

Comments

(3)

So Jewish people didn't own a state before the British did what they did? So did they live in the same area naturally before this happened, were they from there? Why did this happen? Who decided they would get the area tthey have and why? So who lived in the holy land all thoughs years when Jesus was here? Was it called Israel alway

So Jewish people didn't own a state before the British did what they did? So did they live in the same area naturally before this happened, were they from there? Why did this happen? Who decided they would get the area tthey have and why? So who lived in the holy land all thoughs years ago when Jesus was here? Was it called Israel always?

Your headline "Palestinian Authority planning global protests of Balfour Declaration centenary" is laughable. The Palestinian Authority ceased to exist on 3 January 2016 as a result of a written decree published by Mahmoud Abbas that day. When is fiction going to be replaced with fact?

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