A senior UK diplomat has described the Balfour Declaration as “unfinished business” in light of the ongoing Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory.
Ambassador Jonathan Allen, UK deputy permanent representative to the UN, made the remarks while speaking to the Security Council earlier this week.
“The UK understands and respects the sensitivities many have about the [Balfour] Declaration and the events that have taken place in the region since 1917,” Allen said.
While he acknowledged that the UK is “proud to have played a role in helping to make a Jewish homeland a reality”, the senior diplomat added that “we also fully support the objective of a viable and sovereign Palestinian state”.
The occupation is a continued impediment to securing the political rights of the non-Jewish communities in Palestine. And let us remember, there are two halves of Balfour, the second half of which has not been fulfilled. There is therefore unfinished business.
Allen singled out this week’s Israeli settlement expansion plans for condemnation, describing settlement construction as “a significant barrier to achieving the negotiated agreement we seek, and seriously threatens the physical viability of the two-state solution”.
The UK diplomat added: “We have witnessed an unacceptable acceleration of settlement activity throughout 2017, both in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. To date, Israel has advanced plans for over 13,000 settlement units – the highest number of units since 1992.”