Palestine: Britain rebuffs Abbas call to apologise for Balfour Declaration

December 22, 2016 by David Singer
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Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s demand that Britain apologise for the Balfour Declaration has been rebuffed by British Prime Minister Theresa May…writes David Singer.Addressing the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) on 12 December – May responded:

“… we are entering the centenary year of the Balfour Declaration.

On the 2nd of November 1917, the then Foreign Secretary – a Conservative Foreign Secretary – Arthur James Balfour wrote:

“His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

It is one of the most important letters in history.

It demonstrates Britain’s vital role in creating a homeland for the Jewish people.

And it is an anniversary we will be marking with pride.”

The Balfour Declaration became established international law after being incorporated into the Mandate for Palestine on 24 July 1922 – all 51 Member States of the League of Nations unanimously agreeing that:

“recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country;”

The Mandate further affirmed that Britain would be responsible for:

“placing the country under such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish national home, as laid down in the preamble, and the development of self-governing institutions, and also for safeguarding the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine, irrespective of race and religion.”

The use of the terms

  • “existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine” in the Balfour Declaration and
  • “all the inhabitants of Palestine” in the Mandate document

– rather than the term “Palestinians” – clearly refutes the existence of any identifiable “Palestinian people” in Palestine in 1917 or 1922.

 

However fake news stories repetitively dealing with the “stateless Palestinians” may have influenced Ms May into also telling the CFI meeting:

“Of course, people are correct when they say that securing the rights of Palestinians and Palestinian statehood have not yet been achieved.”

The Prime Minister has ignored the following pertinent facts:

  1. The term “Palestinians” was not defined until 1964 when article 6 of the PLO Charter stipulated:

“The Palestinians are those Arab citizens who were living normally in Palestine up to 1947, whether they remained or were expelled. Every child who was born to a Palestinian parent after this date whether in Palestine or outside is a Palestinian.”

  1. The “Palestinian people” was declared to be an integral part of the Arab Nation under Article 1 of the revised 1968 PLO Charter – not a separate and distinct people.

 

  1. The rights of the Arab citizens of Palestine were secured in 1922 by articles 2 and 25 of the Mandate.

 

  1. On 13 September 1922 – a Note communicated to the League of Nations by the Secretary General contained a Memorandum by the British Representative limiting the site designated for the Jewish National Home to just 22% of the mandate territory.

The other 78% was designated for the Arab citizens of Palestine – where Statehood was finally declared on 25 May 1946 when the area was renamed the “Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan”. Another name change to “Jordan” in 1950 followed Transjordan’s illegal occupation of Judea and Samaria in 1948.

A second Arab State in former Palestine – in addition to Jordan – remains a fatuous and unrealistically attainable goal.

David Singer is a Sydney Lawyer and Foundation Member of the International Analysts Network

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