Danny Danon

Palestinian opposition to the Balfour Declaration is yet “another example of hateful Palestinian incitement,” Ambassador Danon charged. 

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Danny Danon slammed a Palestinian event at the UN lamenting 100 years since the signing of the Balfour Declaration as “another example of hateful Palestinian incitement and their refusal to recognize the legitimacy of the Jewish state.”

The UN’s Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People on Thursday marked the centenary anniversary of the Balfour Declaration with an event focusing on its “impact on the Palestinian people.”

The Balfour Declaration was written by UK Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to the 2nd Baron Rothschild, Lionel Walter Rothschild, who was the leader of the British Jewish community at the time. It stated the British government would “view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” The declaration is considered to be the first documented legitimization of the State of Israel.

The Balfour Declaration officially became part of international law when the League of Nations adopted it in 1922. It is widely viewed as a seminal document in the process of creating the legal basis for the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948.

Speaking at the event, Columbia University Professor Rashid Khalidi, a former PLO adviser, said that “for Palestinians, this declaration was a gun pointed at their heads” and that “the Balfour Declaration constituted a declaration of war by the British Empire on the indigenous population of the land it was promising to the Jewish people as a national homeland.  It launched a century-long assault on the Palestinian people.”

In response, Danon said “these statements are another example of hateful Palestinian incitement and their refusal to recognize the legitimacy of the Jewish state.”

“While the Jewish people realized the dream of Zionism, our opponents continue to focus on hate and violence,” Danon charged, adding that the “true lesson of history is that the Palestinians’ refusal to recognize the right of the Jewish people to our homeland has not benefited them, and will never undermine the thriving vitality of the State of Israel.”

“We’ll continue to proudly celebrate this historic milestone that led to Israel’s founding,” the envoy concluded.

Speaking Wednesday at Ben-Gurion International Airport prior to leaving for London to attend an event marking the Balfour Declaration’s centenary, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the occasion is “very important” as the declaration “recognized the right of the Jewish people to their national home in this land.”

“The Palestinians say that the Balfour Declaration was a tragedy. It wasn’t a tragedy. What has been tragic is their refusal to accept this 100 years later,” Netanyahu said, expressing hope that “they change their mind, because if they do they can move forward finally to making peace between our two peoples.”

In the UK, Netanyahu, together with Prime Minister Theresa May, senior officials and members of the Balfour family, attended an event celebrating 100 years since the writing of the Balfour Declaration. The event was held despite pressure from pro-Palestinian groups in Great Britain and beyond, who demand that the British government renounce the Balfour Declaration and apologize for it.

“Establishing a homeland for the Jewish people in the land to which they had such strong historical and religious ties was the right and moral thing to do, particularly against the background of centuries of persecution,” the UK Foreign Office stated in response to a petition by the Palestinian Return Centre urging an official apology from the UK. “We are proud of our role in creating the State of Israel.”

By: United with Israel Staff