More than 11,000 people have signed an online petition calling on the British government to formally apologise for the Balfour Declaration, a letter written by British Foreign Secretary Lord Balfour in 1917 expressing Britain’s support for the establishment of a Jewish state in historic Palestine.
The petition was recently launched by the Balfour Apology Campaign (BAC) and calls for the British government “to openly apologise to the Palestinian people for issuing the Balfour Declaration.”
The 100th anniversary of the Declaration, which many see as the document that paved the way for a Jewish state in Israel, will be marked in November, and British Prime Minister Theresa May has invited Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to visit the UK for the occasion. Netanyahu has accepted the invitation.
The British govern0ment was responsible for Palestine from 1917 to 1948, when they withdrew just before Israel declared an independent Jewish state. Palestinians say they now want an apology.
“We have said clearly that we have been victims of British colonialism and that the least we would expect from the UK is to apologise to the Palestinian people,” Xavier Abu Eid, a spokesman for the PLO, told the Media Line. “A foreign colonial power decided to give Palestine to an organisation that was not even in Palestine. This is one of the darkest episodes of the past 100 years.”
If they reach 100,000 signatures, the petition will be considered for debate in parliament.
The Balfour Declaration, issued on November 2, 1917, was a 67-word statement as part of a letter addressed to Walter Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community. The text reads as follows: 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.”
Friday, April 21, 2017