This November 2 marked 106 years since one Englishman gave another Englishman the right to establish a “homeland” for his people. The first Englishman was Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour, the second was Lord Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community. But the land targeted for that homeland in the Balfour Declaration wasn’t in England. It was in the Middle East. And it already was home to millions of people. For centuries, Palestine had been under the control of the Ottoman Empire. When that entity collapsed at the end of World War I, England and France carved it up into new, separate countries, installed leaders and through them sought to control the entire Middle East.
Today, on the 106th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, activists from Palestine Action targeted Britain’s foreign office and are currently occupying the weapons firm Leonardo at their London HQ. Leonardo’s London offices have been covered in red paint, to symbolise the Palestinian bloodshed by their weaponry, whilst one activist remains on top of the company’s front overhang. Elsewhere, the Foreign Office in London was sprayed in messages including ‘Britain Guilty’ and ‘Fuck Balfour. Written in 1917 by then UK foreign secretary, Lord Arthur Balfour, the Declaration signed away the land of Palestine to the Zionist colonial project – a land Britain never had the right to give away.
The Balfour Declaration is the name given to the statement in 1917 by British foreign secretary lord Balfour promising a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine. Britain had taken control of Palestine after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. That “national home” was to be created at the expense of the indigenous Palestinian population. According to a press release from campaign group Palestine Action: This 67-word document presented by Arthur Balfour in 1917 paved the way for the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the violent dispossession of 750,000 Palestinians —more than half the indigenous population.
Occupied Palestine - Today, Palestinians and human rights advocates around the world are marking 103 years since the Balfour Declaration was issued on November 2, 1917. Using the hashtag #Balfour103, Palestinian and pro-Palestine activists have called to participate in a campaign they launched to commemorate the 103rd anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, rejecting the ominous promise. The Balfour Declaration was issued by Britain when Arthur James Balfour, Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, sent a letter to Lord Lionel Walter Rothschild, one of the leaders of the World Zionist movement...
The systematic and collective appropriation of Palestinian land by the State of Israel is not an accident of British colonial history. Palestinians are not the Chagos Islanders of the Eastern Mediterranean, a people considered by the UK government to be too weak and scattered to bother about. The dispossession of Palestinian land was a product of British foreign policy. Lord Balfour may not have intended a Jewish state when he issued his declaration in 1917 recognising the rights of Jews to set up a "homeland", a deliberately ambiguous phrase. At that point, two percent of Palestine was owned by Jews. In an exchange of letters with George Curzon, Balfour’s successor as foreign secretary, Balfour was unsupportive of the aspiration of the Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann for a Jewish state.
One of the young Israeli men who were picking fights with young Palestinian men on the ancient streets of East Jerusalem a few days ago, assured a BBC journalist that there were no Palestinians in the city – or anywhere in Israel for that matter – in fact there were no Palestinians anywhere, they had never existed. There were only a bunch of Arab troublemakers. The young Israeli man’s argument was bolstered by a 2010 book entitled The Complete History of the Palestinian People by Dr. Marcus Rose who follows what seems to be a perfectly sensible table of contents with eight blank pages...
By Staff of Wafa - RAMALLAH, October 24, 2017 (WAFA) – As Britain prepares to celebrate the centennial of the infamous Balfour Declaration, which Palestinians say was the cause of their Nakba or catastrophe, protests are being planned in the Palestinian territory and around the world, according to officials. Speaking at a press conference in Ramallah on this occasion, Palestinian officials said the main protest rally is going to be held in Ramallah city center on November 2, marking the date when former British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour has promised Jews a homeland in Palestine in 1917. Protests are also going to be held in Jerusalem and around the world, but a major rally is going to be held in London on November 4 with the participation of British lawmakers and officials. The goal of these protests “is to send a message to the British government to apologize to the Palestinian people for the Balfour declaration and to compensate them,” said Nabil Shaath, an advisor to President Mahmoud Abbas on international affairs. However, he said, instead of apologizing, Britain is going to hold celebrations marking this occasion. He said that the Balfour Declaration was the cause of the Palestinian Nakba or catastrophe of 1948 whose effects are still felt until today through Israel’s ongoing settlement construction and expansion at the expense of the Palestinian people and land.