Balfour Declaration at heart of occupation of Palestine
(CHICAGO 11/02/2015) – The current threats to Al Aqsa mosque sanctuary, the official order to shoot with live ammunition Palestinian children accused of allegedly throwing stones, the siege and attacks on Gaza, thousands of Palestinian political prisoners and the overall de-development of the Palestinian economy and society are all the results of a small document that was signed and sent forth nearly 100 years ago.
The Balfour Declaration, written by Lord Arthur Balfour on behalf of the British Zionist Federation on Nov. 2, 1917, effectively gave consent to Zionists to colonize Palestine. As a result, Zionist ethnic cleansing of Palestinians began, with the forcible eviction 750,000 people and the destruction of more than 500 villages.
“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 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,” British Foreign Minister Arthur James Balfour wrote to Lord Rothschild on Nov. 2, 1917.
We know Great Britain had no right to give away land they did not own and which belonged to the Palestinians. But also troubling is that a major stipulation of the Balfour Declaration – that the civil and religious rights of the existing Palestinian community must be inviolate — is today entirely ignored.
While Zionism, with its inherent racists and imperialist policies, is behind the occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people, it is the Balfour Declaration that was the catalyst for the Zionist enterprise that ate up Palestinian land and dispossessed two-thirds of its indigenous population to create the state of Israel.
We, as Americans, are in the unique position to affect change by demanding the US government hold Israel to the same standards it holds other countries that receive US foreign aid. As we commemorate the tragic date of Nov. 2, 1917, let us make a vow to bring pressure to bear upon our elected officials. We must demand the US ends aid to Israel. We must demand Congress holds Israel accountable for its oppression of the Palestinian people.
You can also help by signing these petitions that call for #NoWeapons4Israel and for the progressive think tank Center for American Progress to disinvite Israeli Prime MinisterBenjamin Netanyau in Washington DC on Nov. 10.
You can also educate yourselves and your family by attending AMP’s 8th annual Conference for Palestine in the US: Reclaiming our Narrative, Nov. 26-28, 2015 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare. Register now and get 30% off.
Let us commemorate the 98th year since the Balfour Declaration by renewing our commitment to the just and noble cause of Palestine. We must demand: End the occupation now!