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arab league

Arab League calls on Britain to correct historical mistake over 1917 Balfour Declaration

arab league
An extraordinary session of the Arab League foreign ministers meets to discuss the situation in the Palestinian territories at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, on April 21, 2019. (Photo by AP)
Monday, 02 November 2020 6:42 PM

The Arab League has called on the British government to put right its “historical mistake” over the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which was made after London declared its goal to establish a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine.

The regional organization, in a statement released on Monday, renewed its request to Britain to rectify the mistake, recognize the Palestinian state and the historical injustice that has resulted in a significant upheaval in the lives of Palestinians, and put pressure on Israel to cease its ongoing crimes and end its occupation of Palestinian land.

The Arab League noted that a comprehensive, just and lasting peace can be secured only after the Israeli regime ends its occupation of all Palestinian and Arab territories usurped since 1967, and an independent and sovereign Palestinian state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital is established.

The Balfour Declaration marks the beginning of the tragedy of the century that befell Palestinian people, facilitated their mass exodus from their homeland, and helped Zionist gangs occupy their lands and establish their entity through ethnic cleansing, forced displacement and heinous crimes and violations, the League pointed out.

The Arab League then reaffirmed its full and unwavering support for the Palestinian nation as well as their just and legitimate struggle until they attain freedom and independence.

It also condemned the Tel Aviv regime’s continuous violations and settlement expansion policies, which constitute a war crime under international law, Israel’s Judaization and annexation plans, continuation of the unjust Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip for more than 13 years, and the regime’s attempts to destroy all aspects of Palestinian life and desecrate their Islamic and Christian sanctities. 

The continuation of such crimes and violations attests to the inability of the international community to fulfill its duties and responsibilities as regards confronting aggression and occupation, protecting Palestinians, and forcing the Israeli regime to abide by its obligations under the international law, the Arab League highlighted.

The Balfour Declaration came in the form of a letter from Britain’s then-foreign secretary, Arthur Balfour, addressed to Lionel Walter Rothschild, a figurehead of the British Jewish community. It was published on November 2, 1917.

The declaration was made during World War I (1914-1918), and was included in the terms of the British Mandate for Palestine after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.

It is widely seen as the precursor to the 1948 Palestinian Nakba, when Zionist armed paramilitary groups, who were trained and created to fight side by side with the British in World War II, forcibly expelled more than 750,000 Palestinians from their homeland, captured huge swathes of the Arab land, and proclaimed existence of Israel.

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