Ashrawi Says Britain Should Apologize for Balfour Declaration

Ramallah, MINA – Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi Friday called on the British government to apologize for the Balfour Declaration of 1917 in which British Foreign Secretary at the time Arthur Balfour promised a homeland for Europe’s Jews in Palestine, WAFA reported.

Ashrawi said during a meeting at the PLO headquarters in Ramallah with a visiting delegation of British Labour Party parliamentarians which was organized by The Council for Advancing Arab-British Understanding (Caabu) and Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) that the Balfour Declaration “presents a painful tragedy for the Palestinian people; the ramifications are still being felt throughout the region.”

“The colonial past should not dictate the policies of the twenty-first century and the Israeli occupation remains one of its most repugnant expressions,” she said.

“It is time for the British government to apologize for the injustice inflicted on the Palestinian people and to carry out a process of rectification, beginning with the recognition of the independent state of Palestine on 1967 boundaries.”

The PLO official said the British government should “play a constructive and distinctive role in working to end the military occupation and achieving Palestinian statehood.”

Ashrawi provided a comprehensive overview of Israel’s unlawful unilateralism and draconian measures, in particular its latest expansion of illegal settlements, home demolitions and acts of collective punishment: “Such flagrant violations are part of a deliberate policy to destroy the two-state solution and the chances for peace.”

She affirmed the importance of multilateral engagement based on international law and the involvement of the P5+1 Plus: “What is required from the international community is the political will to intervene and to undertake an effective course of action with concrete and specific steps to guarantee freedom and sovereignty for Palestine within a specific and binding timeframe to end the occupation and mechanisms for arbitration, monitoring and evaluation.”

The British delegation consisted of Parliamentarians Graham Jones, Julie Elliott, Holly Lynch, Chris Elmore, and Lilian Greenwood, and Caabu Parliamentary and Events Officer Joseph Willits and MAP’s Advocacy and Campaigns Manager Rohan Talbot.

Ashrawi expressed her appreciation for the work of both Caabu and MAP and noted their longstanding and valuable efforts in exposing Israeli violations of international law and promoting the rights and freedoms of the Palestinian people. T/RS5/RS1)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)