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100 years after the signing of the Balfour Declaration… What to do now?

Palestinians protest to mark the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration on 1 November 2016 [Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu Agency]

“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.

Yours,

Arthur James Balfour”

These 67 words, written 100 years ago, put into motion the first steps towards stealing Palestine to serve the Zionist project in the region, in the Balfour Declaration, attributed to the British Foreign Secretary at the time, Arthur James Balfour.

This document, issued on 2 November 1917, decided the fate of a nation and displaced an entire population for the sake of a marginalised people claiming that they had a right to Palestine. It was a promise from those who do not own the land to those who do not deserve it, tokened as “a land without a people for a people without a land”.

Britain has worked to allow the trick to pass by means of secret agreements with all parties in the region. It exchanged letters and guarantees with Hussein Bin Ali, Sharif of Mecca (McMahon–Hussein Correspondence), that confirm that Palestine will be under Arab control after WWI. It also agreed with France and Russia to divide the region by means of the Sykes-Picot Agreement, which Russia was a part of, which was exposed after the Bolshevik revolution that later founded the Soviet Union. It then issued the Balfour Declaration, which founded the Zionist entity by force of British weapons.

The birth of this “declaration” was difficult among all the promises made by Britain to the parties. The British Foreign Office attempted to soften the edges in order for it not to come as a shock, especially as the United States did not approve it the first time it was presented.

Read: ‘Britain should work to correct the errors of Balfour’

When US President Wilson agreed, the British Foreign Office proceeded to issue five drafts of the Balfour Declaration. These drafts were examined by diplomats specialising in the region and legal minds who went over the language and its meanings in order to avoid any legal consequences and any previous and parallel political commitments.

Since the agreement was not binding for Britain, it was not to the liking of President of the Zionist Union in Britain Chaim Weizmann, but he believed that any document they receive would be beneficial, even if weak. The main point was the reality and facts on the ground and the means of imposing them.

#Balfour100

The contents of the declaration were subsequently included in the Mandate Act of 1922, which was ratified by the five colonial powers of the League of Nations. However, the British High Commissioner Herbert Samuel began implementation when he took over his duties in Palestine in 1920, implementing it over five years.

Read: 100 Years After Balfour we should reflect, not celebrate

It is worth mentioning that the Zionist entity is the result of many colonial plans, which were not put into effect or operation and did not find the right or suitable opportunity like that found by the Balfour Declaration. These plans also did not have the will or soldiers behind them like the Balfour Declaration did.

What to do?

The Palestinians have continuously resisted the Balfour Declaration for 100 years, but the lessons learned from the Zionists’ ability to occupy Palestine by means of relations, fraud and force, have confirmed to us that there is no harm in taking cues from them in some political instances, such as:

  • Building as many political and diplomatic relations as possible in popular lobbies (especially the youth, who have made great progress due to social media).
  • Seeking to fight the occupation and Britain and refusing to remain silent, even if 100 years after the Balfour crime that the British government boasts about and the Israelis consider the midwife that brought the Zionist baby into the world.
  • Constantly reminding the international community of this crime and preventing it from having a content conscience regarding it.
  • Stating the illegality of this declaration and international prosecution.
  • Supporting popular movements and rallying behind international solidarity with the Palestinian cause, especially the British popular solidarity.
  • Joining international campaigns against this Declaration, especially the campaign led by the Palestinians Abroad Conference.
  • Actively participating in social networking sites and contributing to having a worldwide trending hashtag which the Israelis will also seek to do. We want our voices to reach the entire world and not remain only in the area. The current unified hashtag is #Balfour100.

Finally, the most important point deserves to stand alone, apart from the aforementioned points:

Resistance; anything taken by force can only be regained by force. Any right backed by resistance cannot be lost. To those who cannot resist with weapons, I say there are many other forms of resistance such as protests, sit-ins and social networking sites through which the voice of all of Palestine, from the Sea to the River, can be heard by the entire world. Our voice will be delivered so the whole world will know about our rights that were lost under the weight of unrightful power. May our rights have power and may we be the soldiers of this power.

This article was first published in Arabic in the Palestinian Information Centre on 15 October 2017

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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