Friday, December 15, 2017

Palestinians demand a formal apology from Britain 100 years since the Balfour Declaration


By Rhiannon F. - November 02, 2017
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Hundreds of Palestinians marched across the West Bank and abroad on the centenary anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, demanding a formal apology from the British government.

Signed on November 2, 1917, Palestinians mourn the consequences of the promise of a national home for the Jewish people, resulting in the displacement and uprooting of indigenous Palestinians and Israel’s ongoing occupation of Palestine.

The Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) scheduled demonstrations, events and educational classes in schools across Jerusalem, Ramallah, Gaza, Nablus, Bethlehem, Tubas, Hebron, as well as in Syria and Lebanon. 

 

Most notably, one hundred thousand letters by Palestinian schools were hand-delivered to the British Consulate General in Jerusalem.

PLO Executive Committee Member, Xavier Abu Eid told Palestine Monitor this was the “most symbolic event that took place” across the day.

Abu Eid further stated there was only between 200 and 300 people at the demonstration in the occupied capital.

“People were afraid of showing up [in Jerusalem], the Israeli soldiers make it very difficult for them,” Abu Eid said.

    Palestinians ride through the demonstration on an old bus which ran before 1948, stopping in Jerusalem on the way to Beirut, Amman and Cairo. Today, it is a symbol of free movement restrictions for Palestinians. 

The PLO’s aim of delivering the letters and events is for the British government to offer a formal apology, compensate the dispossessed and recognise the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

 Member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, Hassan Faraj told Palestine Monitor he hoped “the letters will change British foreign policy.”

The week before the centenary anniversary, British Prime Minister Theresa May stated in parliament “we are proud of the role we played in the creation of the State of Israel and we will certainly mark the centenary with pride.”

 Popular Struggle Coordination Committee for Non Violence member, Mundher Amira holds his stencil in front of the British Council. 

Prime Minister May went on to say the UK remains “committed to the two-state solution in relation to Israel and the Palestinians.”

Popular Struggle Coordination Committee member, Mundher Amira spray-painted a stencil on the British Council building during the demonstration in Ramallah stating: “Theresa May, your pride is shameful.”

“It was a very big shock for us, instead of apologising to the Palestinian people, [the British parliament] started celebrating Balfour, [a declaration] which brought disaster for Palestinian people,” Amira told Palestine Monitor.

Amira went on to say he wished for not only the British government but also the entire international community to recognise the suffering of Palestinian people under Israeli occupation. 

Hundreds rallied in Arafat square in Ramallah before making their way to the British council.

 

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