With only two weeks left on the 100th anniversary of the publication of the Belfort Declaration, both Palestine and Israel are preparing for the upcoming war of public opinion. So, what is the Belfort Declaration that has laid the bane of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that lasted for nearly 70 years? How do the two sides view it in recent days?
The Balfour Declaration 100 years ago
On November 2, 1917, British Foreign Secretary Belfort sent a letter to Rothschild, Vice-President of the British Zionist League. He said in the letter:
“His Majesty’s Government is in favour of establishing a Jewish national home in Palestine and is willing to do its utmost to promote it; but it should be clearly understood that nothing should be done to undermine the current civil and religious rights of Palestinian non-Jews or to harm others. The rights and political status enjoyed by national Jews.”
This letter was later called the “Belfort Declaration”, the “Jewish National House” in the Declaration, the Israeli State established in the British colonial Palestinian area in 1948.
The Belfort Declaration Source: imgarcade
The Balfour Declaration provided the basis for Zionists to establish a Jewish state in Palestine and also laid the root cause of long-standing disputes and conflicts between Zionists and Palestinians. The Balfour Declaration uses vague words, such as the use of “national home” to refer to the “state” that the Jews want to establish, and in practice does not fully respect or even deprive Palestinians of their interests. The Balfour Declaration has certain responsibilities for the subsequent Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
In the vague wording of the president’s dissatisfaction with the Declaration
For the Jews, the Balfour Declaration is of paramount importance and it is one of the sources of legitimacy for Israel’s founding. However, for the Palestinians who have not yet formally established their country, the Belfort Declaration is a deception and betrayal. The Palestinians believe that the Israelis violated the second part of the Declaration, that is, “nothing to do anything to damage the current Palestinian non-Jews. Civil and religious rights, or damage to the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in other countries.”
However, Israel’s first president, Haim Weizman, was extremely dissatisfied with the wording of the Belfort Declaration, which was also the leader of the Zionist movement in the early 20th century. He believes that the letter from the British Foreign Secretary, Belfort, to Lord Rothschild’s letter is vague and different from what he envisioned. The letter also stated that “the British government supports the establishment of the national home of the Palestinian people.” However, there is no clear explanation on how the United Kingdom will understand the national homeland and how to achieve this goal. Efforts to promote the realization of this goal” are expressed.
Israel’s first president, Haim Weizmann Source: britannica
To this day, there are not many Israelis who are willing to admit that Britain has helped Israel a lot, but stressed that Britain is dividing and conquering Palestine for the sake of safeguarding its own interests in the Middle East and South Asian colonies. Some Palestinian scholars even believe that the fact is that the British tried to prevent European Jews from immigrating to Palestine, even worse after 1939, causing European Jews to fail to escape the Holocaust.
Britain is still “swinging”
The “Beginners” of the “Belfort Declaration” Britain’s reflection and policy on this hot event triggered a heated discussion in the international community. What is puzzling is that the British government’s attitude towards this incident has been different.
In May this year, due to opposition from the Palestinian side and the international community, the British government cancelled the official state visit plan in Israel – Prince Charles originally planned to participate in the Centennial Commemoration of the Belfort Declaration held in Israel this fall. However, British Prime Minister Teresa May described the publication of the Belfort Declaration with a slogan that is clearly biased towards Israel, “Pride.”
British Prime Minister Teresa May Source: starsunded
On Tuesday, British Deputy Commissioner to the United Nations Jonathan Allen stressed in the UN Security Council debate on the Middle East that “the UK is proud to play an important role in helping the Jewish homeland,” but Allen added. “Let us remember that the contents of the Balfour Declaration have two parts, and the second part is still not fulfilled.” Allen’s remarks angered Jewish representatives in Britain. The “starter” Britain is still swaying like 100 years ago.
Recently, in order to mobilize the British public to participate in the protest against the “Bervo Declaration,” the London delegation of London placed advertisements on London’s subways and buses – the “Bervo Declaration” and its losses to Palestine. These activities are ” Return to the correct part of Make it Right.
Poster for the “Return to Right” campaign on the London bus Source: timesofisrael
However, the Transport for London (TFL) banned these advertisements and responded that “the Transport for London prohibits the placement of political campaigns or controversial advertisements on the subway.” The advertisements of the Palestinian delegation “have political controversy” today. The Belfort Declaration is also politically controversial, just as the British Foreign Secretary Belfort made this promise a hundred years ago. In addition, the UK’s ban on political advertising on television was supported by the European Court of Human Rights in 2013.
Palestine asks the UK to apologize
The different political factions in Palestine are also unprecedentedly united, and they agree that Britain must correct the mistakes of the Balfour Declaration by supporting the establishment of a Palestinian state. In the past week, many cities in Palestine have organized protests calling for Britain to apologize for the Belfort Declaration.
Commemorating the “Balfort Declaration” for one hundred years Source: tariqalitv
The Palestinian ambassador to the United States, Manuel, angered the response of the Transport for London in the Guardian, accusing the Transport Bureau of the censorship system and proclaiming that “in the UK, every issue has freedom of speech, only in Palestine. There is no problem.” Given the attitude of the British side, it is not difficult to understand the accusations of the British government by Palestinian officials.
The leadership of the Palestinian factions and the general public are very disgusted with the attitude of the British government at the time of the 100th anniversary of the publication of the Belfort Declaration. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has been asking Britain to make a historic apology for the past two years. Its foreign minister threatened to sue the UK in a statement at the 2016 Arab League summit. Hamas also made it in 2013. Similar requirements.
In April this year, the British government rejected the Palestinians’ request for an apology for the Balfour Declaration. They believed that the “Bervo Declaration” was a historic statement and the Queen of England did not intend to apologize. We created for ourselves in Israel. The role played by China is proud. The UK’s current task is to encourage Palestine and Israel to move towards peace.”
On Thursday, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) department responsible for refugees condemned the British government’s plan to celebrate the notorious commemoration of the Belfort Declaration. The Palestinians believe that the publication of the Declaration is the beginning of Palestinian deportation and displacement. If the United Kingdom still holds a celebration, they will sue the British government.
On July 26, 2014, demonstrators raised the Palestinian flag in central London Source: palestine updates
It is expected that in the next two weeks, the public opinion battle between the two sides will continue and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict will continue. The ambiguity is not only the Balfour Declaration, but also the attitude of both sides on important issues. The internal reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah in Palestine will be a favorable opportunity for the Palestinians and Israelis to restart peace talks. I hope that 2017 is a new starting point for Palestinian-Israeli relations.
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