The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, called for the creation of a Palestinian state and reminded the UK of its unfulfilled promise to safeguard “the welfare of the Palestinian people and their path to independence” during its 28 year Mandate.
Writing in an article marking the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, Welby said: “as a country, we are reminded that the British government created the conditions for a profound national and political reconfiguring in the Middle East.”
Welby questioned Britain’s motive in declaring its intentions to create a “Jewish Homeland” in Palestine saying “there is less clarity of intent for the Palestinian people in the assertion that ‘nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine’.”
“There does not appear to be a plan for the consequences of the inevitable changes in demographics in Palestine and the attendant need for homes, land and work,” explained Welby.
The Palestinian communities were not given parity of provision for their own desire for independence, self-determination and statehood.
The head of the world’s 85 million Anglicans took a swipe at the UK; accusing Britain of failing to fulfil its “sacred trust of civilisation for both the welfare of the Palestinian people and their path to independence”.
“That aspiration for independent statehood has not been fulfilled yet,” insisted Welby, “and remains a root cause of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians today.”
The Archbishop who visited Palestine earlier in the year to see first-hand Israel’s persecution of Christians called for “Palestinian self-determination to be realised” adding: “there is a need for significant investment of time, attention and diplomacy from the international community and especially Britain.”
Welby warned against the “despair and a collective lack of hope” in Palestine, while committing to “pray and to act for the flourishing of Palestinians and for the exercise of self-determination in the establishing of a viable and secure state.”
“There can be no more fitting way to mark the anniversary of the signing of the Balfour Declaration” concluded Welby, “than to pray for the fulfilment of what remains unfinished in aspirations for statehood, security and peace.”