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Hamas: Palestinians will not give up the right of return

Today marks the 97th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration – a letter from the British Foreign Secretary at the time, Arthur James Balfour to Baron Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community.

Palestinians would never accept to permanently live away from their original homeland or the elimination of the Palestinian national cause, the Palestinian faction Hamas said Saturday.

It added in a statement on the occasion of the 97th anniversary of issuing the Balfour Declaration that nobody had the right to give up Palestinian refugees’ right of return to the Palestinian cities and villages they were forced to leave decades ago.

Any projects to make Palestinian refugees settle down away from the villages and cities they left in 1948 so that Israel could become a state are unacceptable, Hamas said in the statement.

It called on the United Kingdom to shoulder its legal and moral responsibility for what it described as the “unjust” declaration.

Issued in 1917, the Balfour Declaration called for the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.

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.

The “Balfour Declaration” was later incorporated into the Sèvres peace treaty with the Ottoman Empire and the Mandate for Palestine. The original document is kept at the British Library.

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