Espanol / English

Middle East Near You

100 Balfour Road

100 Balfour Road, movie poster [Twitter]
100 Balfour Road, movie poster [Twitter]

The 2 November this year marks the centenary of the Balfour Declaration – 100 years since Britain signed over a country that it did not own, displacing nearly a million people at the time. It’s one of the most crucial points in modern British history, yet any mention of the word “Balfour” is met with vacant stares and awkward coughs. Nobody seems to have heard of this mysterious Balfour (“Wasn’t he a Victorian poet?”) and his declaration (“Wasn’t that in Harry Potter?”)- do you know what the Balfour declaration was? Do you know anything about Balfour himself?

100 Balfour Road, an 11 minute short-film, seeks to educate the population on the Balfour declaration and what it meant for the Palestinian people in simple, close-to-home terms. The film itself is a metaphor, shown through the parallel modern-day example of the Joneses, an ordinary family living in suburban in London who are booted out of their home by soldiers and forced to live in appalling conditions in their back yard. Another family, the Smiths, take over the house and, with the support of the soldiers, mistreat and abuse the Joneses, depriving them of food, medicine and their basic human rights.

By using an all British cast and a typical British setting, the film is able to both strike a chord with its audience and inform them of the history of the Balfour Declaration and the devastating effect it had on ordinary people living in Palestine.

Read: The Balfour Declaration Explained

I, not knowing much about the subject at hand, left the screening feeling overwhelmed with sadness and empathy for all those affected by this tragic event. The film presents itself in such a way that it makes audiences realise it could have been them, it could have been their family, it could have been their loved ones. It could have been anyone, and it was many people, yet their struggles have been seemingly erased from memory.

100 Balfour Road packs a small but strong punch, educating and entertaining through its clever plotline and effective cinematography – not to mention the heart-wrenching acting.

Everybody from young children to adults, teenagers, older generations and every age in between should watch the film when it’s released later this month. I would recommend having some tissues handy because this film is sure to tug at your heart strings and turn on the water works – and for good reason too.

Categories
Europe & RussiaIsraelMiddle EastPalestineReview - Films & DocumentariesReviewsUK
  • Michael Abramov

    What the Balfour Declaration meant for the Palestinians (known then as the Arabs) was that although they had no problem with the British Mandate or the Ottomans or numerous other invaders running the land, they did not want Jews, en masse, in Palestine. Simple.

    • adalat hussain

      yes you expect 20% of Jews to take 80 % of land and the Palestinians to happy about it. They had no problem with British Turks ottomon. The were not murderers and vile like the Zionist. Jew and Muslims lived side by side until zionist railroaded Jews.

      • Mike Abramov

        Sir – In 1948. the Jews were given 18% of the desert known as Palestine. The Arabs had 72%. The Arabs went to war, and lost. Israel gained more land. In 1967, the Arabs went to war again, and lost. Israel gained more land. In 1973, the Arabs went to war again, and lost. The Israelis secured the West Bank and Golan Heights for good.

        Between 1941 and 1955, 800,000 Jews were expelled or had to flee Arab lands that they had lived in for over 1,500 years because the Arabs did not a Jewish homeland.

        The Ottomans turned the land of milk and honey in to a desert. They stripped the whole of Palestine of it’s trees in order to build their empire. This is what the Jews inherited, a desert.

        In 1941, there was a Fahud in Iraq. Read about it.

        • adalat hussain

          sir Arshole Mark Abramov, where did you learn your history? Your opening sentence “in 1948 Jew were given 18% of desert known as Palestine” is an indication of your ignorance or brainwashing. The whole world know the facts.
          The Arabs owned 94% Jews 6% before UN plan of partition so they were not happy about it. It was the Jews who went to war and forced them out. and it was not as though they had an army. It was not a war.
          Around 80 percent of the Palestinians were forced out of their homes on creation of illegal creation of Israel in 1948
          1,050,000 ie 7/8. of Arab population.
          150,000 Arabs remained. ie 1/8 of Arab population.
          Total Arab population 1,200,000
          As for war it is a long story but:
          On the early morning of June 5, Israel launched a surprise attack against Egypt’s air bases and destroyed the Egyptian air force while it was still on the ground, a move that unleashed the war.
          Who had planned the war? Israelis or Egyptian Air force that was still on ground. Think about it?
          You say Jews were expelled 1941- 55. Are you crazy Israel was formed in 1948. The Jews were given most of the land and had a state.Their own state is not going to expel them. You make thing up as you go along. that is Zionist trick.
          Enough of exposing your lies. I cam no going to go on and on,

          • Mike Abramov

            Firstly, do not be rude to me. I have not insulted you at any stage, but you have called me an arsehole. Why? Secondly, read my reply properly before your respond. My name is Mike not Mark.

            Between 1900 and 1948 Jews came to Palestine and bought land from the Arabs which accounts for the 6% you refer to. This is correct. In 1948, the partition of Palestine allocated 18% to Jews and 72% to Arabs. This too is correct.

            The Arabs who fled in 1948 did so either by the guidance of their community leaders or by their own choice, Many however stayed,.especially in Jaffa. Conversely, Hebron was a Jewish city that was taken by the Arabs in 1948 and then became an Arab city in the West Bank.

            The start of the 6-Day War was that Israel struck first. Abdul Gamal Nasser had been in power in Egypt since 1952 and was NOT a popular leader. He planned to gain popularity by invading Israel and showing his people what a great leader he was. Israel knew he was about to invade and firstly spoke to the American government to get permission to strike first. The Israeli tactic was to take out the fleet of French MIG fighters that Egypt were going to use. This in turn triggered reprisals by Syria Lebanon and Iraq. Israel won this war. Simple as that.

            ‘You say Jews were expelled 1941- 55. Are you crazy Israel was formed in 1948.’

            Plans for a Jewish state had been in progress since 1917 and endorsed by the San Remo Agreement in 1920. Iraq was under British Mandate after WW1. This means that the media was publishing reports about the progress of a Jewish state in Palestine. In 1941, after 1,500 years of peaceful co-existence, the Arabs rampaged through Baghdad and Basra stabbing over 100 Jews to death. How do I know this? My uncle was there as a fur trader. He spoke fluent Arabic and had a British passport.

            After 1948, the Arab countries that had a Jewish population began to turn against their Jews. Typically, the Jews of Alexandria in Egypt, the Jews of Damascus, Baghdad, Basra, Tunisia and to some extent Marrakesh. How do I know this? These people were the Jews I grew up with in the 1960s.

            In your last sentence you are calling me a liar because I am a Zionist. Why cannot we have a friendly conversation about our differences?

            Finally, may I remind you that in Burma your people are fleeing to Bangladesh apparently from the Hindu repression. May i suggest that your energies should be used to help the Muslims of Burma and that you should stop wasting your energy on the Israel/Palestine question which you know nothing about.

          • Misterioso

            Greetings.

            For the record re the 1947/48 war, etc:

            Land ownership by Sub-district in all of mandated Palestine, 1947:
            Acre: 87% Palestinian Arab owned, 3% Jewish owned, 10% state owned; Safed: 68% Palestinian Arab owned, 18% Jewish owned, 14% state owned; Haifa: 42% Palestinian Arab owned, 35% Jewish owned, 23% state owned; Nazareth: 52% Palestinian Arab owned, 28% Jewish owned, 20% state owned; Tiberias: 51% Palestinian Arab owned, 38% Jewish owned, 11% state owned; Jenin: 84% Palestinian Arab owned, less than 1% Jewish owned, 16% state owned; Beisan: 44% Palestinian Arab owned, 34% Jewish owned, 22% state owned; Tulkarm: 78% Palestinian Arab owned; 17% Jewish owned, 5% state owned; Nablus: 87% Palestinian Arab owned, less than 1% Jewish owned, 13% state owned; Jaffa: 47% Palestinian Arab owned, 39% Jewish owned, 14% state owned; Ramleh: 77% Palestinian Arab owned, 14% Jewish owned, 9% state owned; Ramallah: 99% Palestinian Arab owned, less than 1% Jewish owned, less than 1% state owned; Jerusalem (West and East): 84% Palestinian Arab owned, 2% Jewish owned, 14% state owned; Gaza: 75% Palestinian Arab owned, 4% Jewish owned, 21% state owned; Hebron: 96% Palestinian Arab owned, less than 1% Jewish owned, 4% state owned; Bersheeba (Negev): 15% Palestinian Arab owned, less than 1% Jewish owned, 85% state owned. (Village Statistics, Jerusalem: Palestine Government, subsequently published as United Nations Map no. 94b, August, 1950)

            48% of the total land area of mandated Palestine was privately owned (‘mulk khaas’) by Palestinian Arabs. Total Jewish privately owned land was only between 6% and 7%. About 45% of the total land area was state owned, i.e. by citizens of Palestine (only 20% of the Jewish immigrants had taken out citizenship) and it was comprised of Communal Property (‘mashaa’), Endowment Property, (‘waqf’), and Government Property, (‘miri’.) (The British Mandate kept an extensive land registry and the UN used the registry during its early deliberations. It has in its archives 453,000 records of individual Palestinian owners defined by name, location & area.)

            The total population of West Jerusalem (the New City) and East Jerusalem (the Old City) and their environs was about 200,000 with a slight Arab majority. (Professor Walid Khalidi, Harvard, “Plan Dalet,” Journal of Palestine Studies, Autumn, 1988, p. 17)

            The total land area of West Jerusalem (the New City) in 1947 was 19,331 dunams (about 4,833 acres) of which 40 per cent was owned by Palestinian Muslims and Christians, 26.12 per cent by Jews and 13.86 per cent by others, including Christian communities. Government and municipal land made up 2.90 per cent and roads and railways 17.12 per cent.

            East Jerusalem (the Old City) consisted of 800 dunams (about 240 acres) of which five dunams (just over one acre) were Jewish owned and the remaining 795 dunams were owned by Palestinian Muslims and Christians. (“Assessing Palestinian Property in the City,” by Dalia Habash and Terry Rempel, Jerusalem 1948: The Arab Neighbourhoods and their Fate in the War, edited by Salim Tamari, The Institute of Jerusalem Studies, 1999, map, pp. 184-85)

            Although Palestinian Arab citizens made up at least 69% of the population and to repeat, privately owned 48% of the land while Jews privately owned only 6-7%, the Partition Plan recommended Palestinians receive only 42% as a state and Jews 56%, (The 2% of Palestine comprised of Jerusalem and Bethlehem was to be placed under international control, i.e, a corpus separatum.)

            No wonder Palestinians rejected the Partition Plan. Indeed, it proved so unworkable that when Polish born David Ben-Gurion (nee, David Gruen) et al. declared the “Jewish State” of Israel effective 15 May 1948 (after Jewish forces had already dispossessed and expelled 400,000 Palestinians – e.g., 30,000 from West Jerusalem in March (and a further 30,000 in May), 60,000 from Haifa in April, 75,000 from Jaffa in late April and early May), the UNGA was in the process of shelving the Partition Plan in favour of a UN Trusteeship.

            When war erupted due to necessary intervention by reluctant outnumbered/outgunned Arab state armies to stem the accelerating expulsion of Palestinians, a US proposed cease-fire was accepted by the Arab League but rejected by Israel.

            Jewish militia and the IDF seized 78% of Palestine (22% more than the Partition Plan recommended, including large portions of the proposed Palestinian state, e.g., Jaffa and Acre), expelled 400,000 more Palestinians for a total of about 800,000 (according to Walter Eytan, Director General of the Israeli Foreign Ministry) and went on to destroy over 500 of their towns and villages, including churches, mosques and cemeteries. It was only the beginning of the Zionist’s conquest of Palestine and the expulsion of its indigenous Arab inhabitants.

            BTW, The repeated assertion by Israel’s leaders and other Zionists that Palestinians fled their homes and properties in 1948 because they were told to do so by Arab leaders to make way for incoming Arab armies has long-since been debunked. To quote John H. Davis, who served as Commissioner-General of UNRWA at the time: “An exhaustive examination of the minutes, resolutions, and press releases of the Arab League, of the files of leading Arabic newspapers, of day-to-day monitoring of broadcasts from Arab capitals and secret Arab radio stations, failed to reveal a single reference, direct or indirect, to an order given to the Arabs of Palestine to leave. All the evidence is to the contrary; that the Arab authorities continuously exhorted the Palestinian Arabs not to leave the country…. Panic and bewilderment played decisive parts in the flight. But the extent to which the refugees were savagely driven out by the Israelis as part of a deliberate master-plan has been insufficiently recognized.” (John H. Davis, The Evasive Peace, London: Murray, 1968)

            Furthermore, just before and during their invasion of Egypt in 1956, Israeli forces expelled about 25,000 more Palestinians and during and after the war it launched on 5 June 1967, Israel expelled an additional approximately 250,000.

        • chattyman

          I don’t think the Palestinians had a problem with Jews per se. I think they would have had the same problem with any invaders who attacked them and drove them from their homes.

          • Misterioso

            Precisely!!!

    • adalat hussain

      The land had always been called Palestine. The people living in it were Palestinians.Arabs as you call them were not happy with British Mandate. Non one ever is happy with an occupation Al power.Why should Jews enmass deprive a nation of its nationhood and live as subservient to a minority community that community being Zionist who disguise themselves as Jews.There are nothing but thugs supported by the biggest thug in the world USA.

      • Mike Abramov

        Yes, you are right. I am sorry the Jews won the war that you started in 1948. I am sorry that the Jews won the war in 1967 that you started. I am sorry that you lost the Yom Kippur war of 1973…….that you started. The Jews are a terrible problem to the Arabs. Maybe if Iran dropped a nuclear bombs on Israel all your problems will be over.

        • chattyman

          That’s a straw man argument; you are changing the subject. People are simply pointing out that the Zionist invasion of Palestine and expulsion of the natives was wrong in the first place.

      • Misterioso

        FYI:

        The first known written reference to Palestinians as a people (Peleset) was c.1150 BCE at the temple of Medinet Habut. They were among those who fought with Egypt during Ramesses III’s reign.

        The region between the Jordan River and the Med. Sea was referred to as “Palestine” by the Greek historian Herodotus (“the father of history”) during the 5th century BCE.

        100 years later, in the mid-4th Century BCE, Aristotle referred to Palestine while discussing the Dead Sea in his Meteorology. “Again if, as is fabled, there is a lake in Palestine….”

        Jewish historian Josephus’s (c.37-100 CE) The Jewish War, Antiquities of the Jews contains many references to both “Palestine” and “Palestinians.”

        Contemporaries of Jesus also routinely referred to Palestine as “Palestine.” In the first decade of the 1st Century, the Roman poet Ovid mentioned Palestine in both his famed mythological poem Metamorphoses and his erotic elegy The Art of Love. He also wrote of “the waters of Palestine” in his calendrical poem Fasti. Around the same time, another Latin poet, Tibullus wrote of “the crowded cities of Palestine” in the section “Messalla’s Triumph” in his poem Delia.

        Also, for the record, when the Muslim Arabs under the leadership of Omar (Umar) arrived in Palestine in the 7th century CE and liberated its Jewish population from Byzantine oppression, they retained the administrative organization of the territory of Palestine as it had been under the Romans and later, the Byzantines. They referred to the territory as Filastin (no “P” in Arabic.)

        To quote the opening sentence of the section entitled “Filastin” that appears in the book “Dictionary of the Lands,” written by geographer Yaqut ibn Abdullah al-Hamawi in 1225: “Filastin: It is the last one of the regions of Syria in the direction of Egypt. Its most famous cities are Ashkelon, Ramle, Gaza, Arsuf, Caesaria, Nablus, Jericho, Amman, Jaffa and Beit Guvrin.”

        By about 1300 CE there were virtually no Jews in Palestine, which was a recognized geographical concept using coinage with “Filistin” written on them. There were diaries of Palestinian travelers who said they missed “Palestine” and a distinctive Palestinian dialect of Arabic had evolved. From 1300 on, the vast majority of people who lived in Palestine were Christians and Muslims.

        In 1603, Shakespeare wrote in his play Othello: “Emilia: I know a lady in Venice would have walked barefoot to Palestine for a touch of his nether lip.” (Act IV, Scene iii.)

        In 1863, The Religious Tract Society of London published its “Pictorial Journey Through the Holy Land; or Scenes of Palestine.” In this work Beersheba is described as the southern limit of Palestine. Beersheba lies south-east of Gaza on the northern edge of the Negev desert. Palestine is described as “south of Lebanon.”

        European tourist books of the nineteenth century refer to “Palestine,” as did Theodor Herzl in his correspondence and the 1917 Balfour Declaration as well as the 1922 Class A League of Nations British Mandate.

        To quote the Winston Churchill Memorandum (1 July 1922) regarding the British Mandate: “[T]he status of all citizens of Palestine in the eyes of the law shall be Palestinian, and it has never been intended that they, or any section of them, should possess any other juridical status.”

  • fionio

    Where would I find this film? I would very much like to see and share it? Thanks

  • Misterioso

    Hello again.

    For your files re the 1967 war:

    The June 1967 War:
    At 7:45 AM on 5 June 1967, Israel attacked Egypt and thereby, Jordan and Syria who each shared a mutual defense pact with Egypt. The attack took place just hours before Egypt’s VP Mohieddine was to fly to Washington for a prearranged June 7th meeting with the Johnson administration to defuse the crisis between Egypt and Israel based on an agreement worked out in Cairo between Nasser and Johnson’s envoy, Robert Anderson. In a cable sent to Johnson on May 30, Israel’s PM Eshkol promised not to attack Egypt until June 11 to give diplomacy a chance to succeed. However, on June 4, when it heard about the June 7th meeting and the distinct possibility that it would rule out war, Israel’s cabinet ordered its armed forces to attack Egypt the next day. In short, the war was another massive land grab by Israel.

    Prime Minister Menachem Begin, former Minister without portfolio in PM Levi Eshkol’s cabinet, while addressing Israel’s National Defence College on 8 August 1982: “In June, 1967, we again had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai did not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.” (New York Times, 21 August 1982)

    Meir Amit, chief of Israel’s Mossad: “Egypt was not ready for a war and Nasser did not want a war.” (Dr. Norman Finkelstein, Image and Reality)

    Israeli Chief of Staff Rabin: “I do not believe that Nasser wanted war. The two divisions which he sent into Sinai on 14 May would not have been enough to unleash an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it.” (Le Monde, 25 February, 1968)

    Prime Minister Eshkol: “The Egyptian layout in the Sinai and the general military buildup there testified to a military defensive Egyptian set-up south of Israel.” (Yediot Aharonot, l8 October 1967)

    Robert McNamara, U.S. Secretary of Defence: “Three separate intelligence groups had looked carefully into the matter [and] it was our best judgment that a UAR attack was not imminent.” (The Vantage Point, Lyndon Johnson, p. 293)

    An article published in the New York Times (4 June 1967) just hours before Israel attacked notes that Major General Indar Jit Rikhye, Commander of UNEF in the Middle East, “who toured the Egyptian front, confirms that Egyptian troops were not poised for an offensive.” (Dr. Norman Finkelstein, Image and Reality…, p. 134)

    On May 26, in reply to Israel’s Foreign Minister Abba Eban’s assertion that according to Israeli intelligence, “an Egyptian and Syrian attack is imminent,” Secretary of State Dean Rusk dismissed the claim and assured Eban that Israel faced no threat of attack from Egypt. On the same day, during a meeting at the Pentagon, Eban was also told by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and his aides that “…Egyptian forces were not in an aggressive posture and that Israel was not opening itself to peril by not attacking immediately. The contrary was true, Eban was told.” (Donald Neff, Warriors for Jerusalem, pp. 140-41)

    BTW, as the UN Emergency Force (UNEF) Commander, Major General Idar Jit Rikhye, revealed, Nasser was not enforcing the blockade of the Tiran straits: “[The Egyptian] navy had searched a couple of ships after the establishment of the blockade and thereafter relaxed its implementation.” (Norman Finkelstein, Image and Reality, p. 139)

    Furthermore: According to Patrick Seale, highly regarded historian and journalist, Israel had been meticulously preparing for another war against the Arabs since its 1956 invasion of Egypt: “In the decade since the Suez campaign Israel had built up forces that could move fast and hit hard: mobile armoured units able to cover long distances, mechanized infantry, heliborne and naval paratroopers for use behind enemy lines, and above all an air force of Mirage and Super-Mystere interceptors and Mystere fighter-bombers of unchallenged superiority. The main lesson Israel had learned from the [1956] Suez war was the importance of air dominance not only to neutralize Arab air forces but also for use as flying artillery against infantry and tanks.” (Patrick Seale, Asad…, p. 117)

    Ezer Weizman, former commander of Israel’s Air Force confirmed in his memoirs that Israel spent years meticulously planning the attack against Egypt: “For five years I had been talking of this operation, explaining it, hatching it, dreaming of it, manufacturing it link by link, training men to carry it out.” Recalling how he felt at 7:30 A.M. on 5 June 1967, Weizman wrote: “Now in a quarter of an hour, we would know if it was only a dream or whether it would come true….” (Donald Neff, Warriors for Jerusalem…, p. 202)