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100 years on Balfour Declaration
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Gaza, ALRAY -- Palestinians around the world are marking 100 years since the Balfour Declaration was issued on November 2, 1917.


The Balfour Declaration ("Balfour's promise" in Arabic) was a public pledge by Britain in 1917 declaring its aim to establish "a national home for the Jewish people" in Palestine.


The statement 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 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.


The so-called mandate system, set up by the Allied powers, was a thinly veiled form of colonialism and occupation.


The declared aim of the mandate system was to allow the winners of the war to administer the newly emerging states until they could become independent.


The case of Palestine, however, was unique. Unlike the rest of the post-war mandates, the main goal of the British Mandate there was to create the conditions for the establishment of a Jewish "national home" - where Jews constituted less than 10 percent of the population at the time.


Upon the start of the mandate, the British began to facilitate the immigration of European Jews to Palestine. Between 1922 and 1935, the Jewish population rose from nine percent to nearly 27 percent of the total population.


The declaration turned the Zionist aim of establishing a Jewish state in Palestine into a reality when Britain publicly pledged to establish "a national home for the Jewish people" there.


The pledge is generally viewed as one of the main catalysts of the Nakba - the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948 - and the conflict that ensued with the Zionist state of Israel.


In the occasion, British Prime Minister Teresa Mae declared her country’s pride in the establishment of the Israeli occupying state, and its insistence on commemorating the centennial of the Balfour Declaration.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he will attend this week to attend a dinner in London celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. British PM Theresa May and leaders of the Jewish community will also attend the celebration event.


Palestinian officials expressed concerned over British PM position that reflected the British government’s “persistence and indifference to the crime committed 100 years ago, and reflects a challenge by Britain to Palestine and the international community”.


Thousands of Palestinian students have written letters to British Prime Minister Theresa May decrying the Israeli occupation, on the occasion of the Balfour Declaration centenary.


Their messages will be submitted at the British consulate in Jerusalem on Thursday, November 2, 2017, exactly 100 years after Britain promised help in creating a "national home" for the Jewish people in Palestine.


Protests are planned in the Palestinian territories, where thousands of students will stand in their schoolyards on Thursday demanding Britain dismiss the declaration, and in Britain, where dozens of cars will be emblazoned with posters condemning the declaration.


The Balfour Declaration says:

"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, it being clearly


I understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country," the letter stated.


The declaration, which turned the Zionist aim of establishing a Jewish state in Palestine into a reality, is broadly viewed as one of the main catalysts behind the 1948 Nakba and decades of Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

 

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