The Meaning of the Palestinians’ War on the Balfour Declaration

Photo: From the Facebook page “Palestine Belongs to Palestinians!”

Encouraged and empowered by the recent UNESCO resolution that rejects Jewish ties to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, the Palestinian Authority is boasting about plans to hold a series of global events throughout the coming year to decry the establishment of the state of Israel.

The purpose of the campaign, described by the Qudsnet News Agency as “massive,” is to “make the international community, and especially Britain, confront their historical responsibilities and call on them to atone for this major crime committed, and raise the issue of the historical injustice inflicted on the Palestinian people.”

The “major crime” in question is the Nov. 2, 1917 Balfour Declaration, sent by the UK foreign secretary to Jewish community leader Walter Rothschild, to be delivered to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland.

“His Majesty’s government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors 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 stated.

Though this was well before the term “Palestinians” – or people calling themselves “Palestinians” – even existed – distorting history is part and parcel of their effort to delegitimize Israel in any and every way possible. The UNESCO vote is but one tiny example of this practice, which is gaining momentum with the help of Western leftists.

Another is the incessant cacophony about Israeli settlements constituting an “obstacle to peace.”

Ironically, the very fact that all PA factions make no bones about considering the Jewish state a catastrophe worthy of annual mourning – and deserving of the slaughter of innocent Jews — does not serve to dissuade proponents of a two-state solution from their claim that new apartments in the West Bank are unnecessarily provocative.

On the contrary, though Abbas said clearly that no Jews would be welcome in PA-controlled territory under any circumstances, when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called attention to this blatant antisemitism, it was he who was mercilessly berated far and wide, especially by the White House and State Department.

Saeb Erekat, the Palestinians’ chief “peace” negotiator, took the opportunity, as he always does, to use US criticism of Israel as a way to prove that the Jewish state was born and lives in sin.

In a Washington Post op-ed on Tuesday, Erekat did this in the context of the Balfour Declaration, which he called the “symbolic beginning of the denial of our rights.” Chastising the world for not taking significant steps to end the travesty of Israel’s existence, he spewed customary lies about how the Jewish state came into being. “The Palestinian people were violently dispossessed from their homes and exiled from their homeland in 1948, endured the occupation in 1967, only to be forced into the historic compromise recognizing the 1967 border as the borders of the state of Palestine,” he wrote, conveniently omitting the true story of Israel’s war of Independence and Six-Day War 19 years later – the assault of surrounding Arab armies on a tiny fledgling country that spent much of its time trying to come to an arrangement with those bent on its annihilation.

Erekat’s piece was in keeping with Abbas’ announcement in July that the PA was going to file a lawsuit against Britain for the Balfour Declaration. This was conveyed by PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki to the Arab League Summit in Mauritania, which Abbas was unable to attend, due to the death of his brother.

In spite of the fact that Omar Abbas had been treated for cancer at a Tel Aviv hospital – along with the family members of many honchoes in Fatah and Hamas – the PA leader was going ahead with his litigation against the UK over the 100-year-old document, “after which hundreds of thousands of Jews arrived from Europe and other places in Palestine at the expense of our people.”

With such a blatant admission of its actual position on Jewish statehood — going so far as to wage war on the Balfour Declaration — the PA should be treated with the disdain and derision it deserves.

Ruthie Blum is the managing editor of The Algemeiner.


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