Palestine decries Balfour Declaration on 104th anniversary

Arthur Balfour and his infamous Declaration on behalf of the Zionist Federation which they took as permission to set up their own state
    PALESTINE, the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) have denounced the infamous Balfour Declaration issued by Britain in 1917, which set the stage for the creation of the Israeli entity and occupation of Palestine.

    On Tuesday, Palestinian flags were flown at half-mast across the occupied territories on the 104th anniversary of the statement to remind the international community, the United Kingdom in particular, of the suffering of Palestinians and their deprivation of rights to independence, statehood and self-determination.

    Schools held special ceremonies to reflect on the impacts of the Balfour Declaration on the Palestinian nation and its future.

    ‘Today marks 104 years since the Balfour declaration. It has been a century of pain for us the Palestinian people but also of perseverance. It is time for Britain to apologise for its colonial acts and atone: Recognise the State of Palestine and sanction transgressions of the law,’ Palestinian Ambassador to Britain, Husam Zomlot, wrote in a post published on his Twitter page.

    The Arab League called on the United Kingdom to ‘correct this historic mistake and assume its historical, legal and moral responsibility by apologising to the Palestinian people, and recognising the Palestinian state on June 4, 1967, lines with East Jerusalem as its capital in support of achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in accordance with the vision of a two-state solution’.

    Moreover, the OIC stated that the Balfour Declaration led to the creation of a colonial occupation regime in Palestine, which is exercising the policies of mass expulsion, ethnic cleansing, settlement construction and expansion, Judaisation, land confiscation and property destruction, and denies Palestinians of their legitimate national rights.

    ‘As the world commemorates this dramatic event, which has left a dark stain on human history and consciousness and undermined the values of freedom and justice, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation renews its unwavering commitment to Palestinian people as they are struggling for their legitimate rights’, it said in a statement.

    The organisation then called on the international community ‘to assume its historical, legal and political responsibility to bring the Israeli occupation to account, and to enable the Palestinian nation to recover their inalienable rights, including the right of return and the right to an independent state based on the 1967 borders with East al-Quds as its capital’.

    The Syrian parliament has denounced the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which led to the creation of Israel, as ‘invalid’ and in flagrant violation of international law.

    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.

    Also on Tuesday, dozens of Palestinians participated in a protest at the Jablia refugee camp in the besieged Gaza Strip to demand the United Kingdom recognise an independent Palestinian state.

    Protesters held banners and chanted slogans urging Britain to stand by its responsibility and recognise an independent Palestinian state with al-Quds as its capital, and to acknowledge the suffering caused by the Balfour Declaration.

    Hamas spokesperson Abdel Latif al-Qanou said the UK is fully responsible for a ‘historical, political and moral crime’ towards Palestinian people.

    ‘Since that pledge, our people have been in a continuous suffering and an open battle with the Israeli occupation in order to obtain their rights in their land that was gifted to Israel to establish its lands,’ he said.

    Al-Qanou said the UK should compensate Palestinians for the injustice they have suffered as a result of the declaration.

    ‘No matter how long it takes, we won’t give up our rights to resist and struggle until it is liberated from occupation,’ he added.

    Aref Naim, a member of the Fida Party, also said the ‘ominous pledge’ caused mass displacement, killing and land confiscation and had not been forgotten by Palestinians.

    ‘The international community is silent about the crime of stealing Palestinian land and displacing thousands of Palestinians until this day. The Palestinian people paid a heavy price and still do,’ he argued.

    Naim called on the international community to increase the pressure on Israel to end its decades-long occupation of Palestinian territories, and to implement all United Nations resolutions, including the right of return and the right to self-determination for Palestinians.

    • A senior official from the Hezbollah resistance movement says Lebanon will not succumb to threats in the wake of a diplomatic rift with Saudi Arabia, which erupted late last month over criticism of the kingdom’s deadly war on Yemen.

    Hassan al-Baghdadi, a member of Hezbollah’s Central Council, made the remarks on Wednesday amid mounting tensions between Beirut and Riyadh following critical comments by a Lebanese minister about the Saudi-led war on Yemen.

    ‘Lebanon will continue to protect its national principles as well as the rights to defend its land and people, extract natural resources, and determine its borders fairly, and it will not retreat in the face of any pressure or threat,’ al-Manar TV channel quoted him as saying.

    ‘The problem of the US government and its allies, such as Saudi Arabia and Israel, is that they have not learned from the past and it seems they still don’t intend to do so.’

    Washington and its regional allies, Baghdadi added, ‘do not recognise the nature of Lebanon and Hezbollah and continue to bet on a hated group that is ready to sacrifice Lebanon for the sake of the country’s enemies in exchange for money and false credibility.

    This is while the majority of the people of this country from different sects never compromise with anyone on their dignity and national wealth’.

    On a TV programme filmed in August and aired last week, Lebanon’s Information Minister George Kordahi, who was not appointed to the post back then, said the war in Yemen was an aggression by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. He called the war ‘absurd’, saying it must stop because he is opposed to wars between Arabs.

    He called the war on the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country ‘futile’ and said it was ‘time for it to end’.

    Kordahi also said the Yemeni army forces and their allied fighters from Popular Committees were ‘defending themselves … against an external aggression’, and that ‘homes, villages, funerals and weddings were being bombed’ by the Saudi-led coalition.

    Angered by the criticism, Saudi Arabia expelled Lebanon’s ambassador, banned all imports from Lebanon and recalled its envoy for consultations.

    In solidarity with Riyadh, Kuwait and Bahrain followed suit by expelling the top envoys in their own capitals, while the United Arab Emirates withdrew all its diplomats from Beirut.

    Speaking on Saturday, the top Saudi diplomat said the kingdom’s actions were driven not just by Kordahi’s comments but rather were rooted in its objection to Hezbollah dominance over Lebanese politics.

    ‘I think the issue is far broader than the current situation,’ Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said in a phone interview. ‘I think it’s important that the government in Lebanon or the Lebanese establishment forges a path forward that frees Lebanon from the current political construct, which reinforces the dominance of Hezbollah.’

    Saudi Arabia – a Lebanese lawmaker says – the country that failed in its war on Yemen, is now planning to take revenge against Lebanon over its support for the oppressed Arab nation.
    On Tuesday, Lebanon’s Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib said Saudi Arabia was dictating impossible terms by asking the government to reduce the role of Hezbollah.

    ‘If they just want Hezbollah’s head on a plate, we can’t give them that,’ he said. ‘Hezbollah is a component of politics in Lebanon. It has a regional armed dimension, yes, but this is beyond what we can resolve.’

    Bou Habib also stressed that he believed mutual
    dialog was the only way forward to solving the dispute, adding, however, that there had been no meetings on any level between both parties since the new Lebanese cabinet was formed on September 10.

    ‘There has been no dialogue (with Saudi Arabia) even before the problem with minister Kordahi … the Saudi ambassador here never communicated with us,’ he said.
    ‘We need to know what they want … we prefer dialogue to dictates.’

    • The naval forces of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) have managed to thwart an attempt by the United States to take over a giant oil tanker in the strategic Sea of Oman and moved the vessel to Iranian territorial waters.

    The US military confiscated the Iranian tanker loaded with crude oil in the Sea of Oman, which connects the Arabian Sea with the Strait of Hormuz, and intended to unload its shipment to another tanker and direct it to an unknown destination.

    Reacting promptly, however, members of the IRGC’s Navy carried out a heliborne operation on the stolen ship’s deck, gained control of the vessel, and directed it back toward Iran’s territorial waters.

      US forces then proceeded to chase the tanker using several helicopters and warships, but their attempt at taking over the vessel for a second time was thwarted again by Iranian naval forces.

      The tanker is currently in Iranian territorial waters and under the protection of IRGC’s Navy.
      Tensions between Tehran and Washington have exacerbated after former US President Donald Trump cancelled the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in May 2018 and re-imposed the anti-Iran sanctions that the deal had lifted.

      He also placed additional sanctions on Iran under other pretexts not related to the nuclear case as part of his ‘maximum pressure’ campaign, which is mainly aimed at blocking the country’s oil exports and depriving the Iranian nation of its energy revenues.

      The fate of the JCPOA is currently in doubt as Trump’s successor, Joe Biden, continues to stick with the previous administration’s pressure tactics in dealing with Iran.