Ninety-five years ago . . . , on November 2, 1917, British imperialism in Palestine began when Lord Balfour, the then British foreign secretary and former prime minister, sent a letter to Baron Rothschild, one of the leaders of the Zionist movement. This letter became known as the “Balfour Declaration”.
In that letter, Balfour promised British support for the Zionist programme of establishing a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine. This pledge of support was made without consulting the indigenous Christian and Muslim inhabitants of Palestine, the Palestinian people. And it was made before British troops had even conquered the land.
Balfour, on behalf of Britain, promised Palestine – over which Britain had no legal right – to a people who did not even live there (of the very small community of Palestinian Jews in Palestine in 1917, very few were Zionists). And he did so with the worst of intentions: to discourage Jewish immigration to Britain. No wonder Lord Montagu, the only Jewish member of the Cabinet, opposed the declaration.
And yet, just two years earlier, Britain had committed herself to assisting the Arab nations in achieving their independence from the Ottoman Empire. [Emphasis added.]What followed was a monstrous injustice committed against the Palestinians--the Nakba--set in motion by this British act. The Palestinians have suffered terribly at the hands of those who were intent on founding the Jewish state of Israel no matter the cost--to the Palestinians. And the rest of the world has lived with the turmoil--the constant threat of war and economic disruption--bequeathed by the British imperialists ever since. Most of the men responsible for this crime probably died peacefully in their sleep. Justice is not guaranteed in our world.
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