Today marks 101 years since the Balfour Declaration, which paved the way for the creation of Israel and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians that went with it.
The anniversary underlines the extent of British responsibility for Palestinian dispossession and how important it therefore is that we in the UK work to undo the unjust situation Britain helped create.
During the height of British imperialism, Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour issued a short statement on 2 November 1917 which declared, in part:
“His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object”
This statement, transmitted to the Zionist Federation, epitomised the colonial arrogance of the British government and was issued without any consultation with the native people of Palestine.
The Balfour declaration did also state that “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”. However, the expulsion and exclusion of Palestinians and ongoing systematic denial of their rights has been central to the creation and maintenance of the Israeli state.
It’s time for the British government to finally make some amends by holding Israel to account for its violations of international law and supporting Palestinian rights.
That’s why we’re hosting a lobby day for Palestine in parliament on November 28th.
If you can be in London on 28 November, follow this link to request a meeting with your MP and register to join us in Parliament.
Even if you can’t attend, you can still write to your MP and ask them to meet with the PSC team for a briefing – follow this link.
More information on the lobby day can be found here.