THE Syrian parliament has shown the way to the rest of the world by denouncing as ‘invalid’ the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which handed Palestine over to the Zionist Federation and led to millions of Palestinians losing their homes and their homeland and being turned into refugees.
The Syrian parliament insisted that the Syrian government and nation will continue to support Palestinians until there is a full restoration of their legitimate rights to have their Palestinian state with all Palestinians having the right to return.
The parliament, in a statement released on the 104th anniversary of the imperialist ‘treaty’, said it was made by those who were in no position to do so, and granted rights to those who do not deserve such privileges.
It insisted that the declaration is, therefore, in clear contravention of the most fundamental standards of international law. It continued: ‘What is currently taking place in Palestine is the upshot of the entitlement that the then United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour gave to the global Zionist movement on November 2nd, 1917.’
The Syrian parliament explained: ‘It included the establishment of a national home for Jews in Palestine, and Palestinians were subsequently subjected to the harshest forms of oppression and aggression.’
The Balfour Declaration came in the form of a letter from the British foreign secretary Balfour addressed to Lionel Walter Rothschild, a figurehead of the British Jewish Zionist community. It was published on November 2nd, 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 now widely seen as the precursor to the 1948 Palestinian Nakba (Catastrophe), 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.
The Syrian parliament also highlighted that ‘aggressive practices against Palestinians are being exercised in the form of the Tel Aviv regime’s brutal attempts to subjugate the people, efforts to thwart the resolution of the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and imposition of diktats and conditions by colonial and imperialist powers led by the United States.
‘The Palestinian cause has always been the main and central issue in Syria. This is why the Syrian people have endured militancy, terrorist attacks as well as brutal sanctions over the past years,’ the statement continued.
It underscored that attempts aimed at undermining the Damascus government’s firm and principled stance towards the Palestinian nation have failed dismally.
Palestinians want the occupied West Bank as part of their future independent state and view Jerusalem’s eastern sector (al-Quds) as the capital of their future sovereign state.
Now that the Syrian parliament has shown the way, the UK trade unions must insist that one of the main culprits in turning millions of Palestinians into refugees, the British Houses of Parliament, must carry the same resolution.
There have already been two over 500,000-strong demonstrations in London in support of the Palestinian state this year.
At the second demonstration, on Saturday May 21, Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington John McDonnell said: ‘Netanyahu must be imprisoned for war crimes. The campaign for disinvestment in Israel must be stepped up.’
National Education Union General Secretary Kevin Courtney said: ‘Unite, Unison, GMB, NEU, along with ASLEF, RMT, TSSA, PCS, CWU, UCU, FBU, POA, Equity, the Bakers Union and the United World Transport Union are here today in solidarity with the general strike in Palestine last week and we need to take similar action for Palestine here.’
These powerful trade unions now have an opportunity to make their contribution. They must demand that the British parliament carries the same resolution as the Syrian parliament condemning the Balfour Declaration as an imperialist atrocity against the Palestinian nation!