After the Palestinian Authority asked the Arab League to assist in suing Britain for helping to establish the State of Israel, Israel’s Foreign Ministry Director General fired back, saying this proves the insincerity of the Palestinian Authority to make peace with Israel.
Director of Israel’s Foreign Ministry Dr. Dore Gold derided the Palestinians announcement that they intend to sue the United Kingdom for the Balfour Declaration, a document written almost 100 years ago by then UK Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur James Balfour which expressed support for the establishment of a Jewish national homeland in the land of Israel.
Saying the move is “revealing,” Gold stated that “apart from the obvious lack of any legal basis” for the Palestinian lawsuit, the “initiative itself demonstrates yet again the continuing refusal of the Palestinian side to recognize the legitimate and indigenous connection of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland.”
He pointed out the legal significance of the Balfour Declaration emanated from the fact that it was incorporated by the League of Nations into the 1922 Mandate for Palestine. “That mandate recognized the historical connection of the Jewish people to that area and that it provided the grounds for them to reconstitute their national home there.
The League of Nations’ mandate transformed Balfour’s stated policy into an internationally recognized legal obligation to “give effect to the inherent right of the Jewish people to self-determination in their ancient homeland,” Gold added.
Rights that were recognized by the League of Nations in that period were preserved by its successor organization, the United Nations, through Article 80 of the UN Charter.
Validation of Millennia-Old Bonds
Gold underscored that neither the Balfour Declaration nor the Mandate created the historical rights of the Jewish people to Israel, which preceded both by millennia. “Rather, these documents together recognized pre-existing rights that the Jewish people never conceded. Indeed thousands of Jews poured back into their ancient homeland well before the Balfour Declaration was issued.”
The Palestinian’s statement is “yet another resounding ‘no’ to Israel’s fair request for reciprocity through mutual recognition,” he concluded, saying that Israel has insisted that at the end of any negotiation with the Palestinian leadership, it should recognize the rights of the Jewish people to a nation-state, just as many have been insisting that Israel recognize the rights of the Palestinians to a state of their own.
Speaking at the annual memorial ceremony for Benjamin Ze’ev Herzl on Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Palestinians’ step clarifies that the root of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the refusal by the Palestinians to recognize the Jewish state in any borders.
“Of course they will fail” Netanyahu said of the lawsuit.
The 1917 Balfour Declaration, written by Lord Balfour to Baron Walter Rothschild, stated that the British government would “view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” The document is considered by many to be a founding legal document for the State of Israel.
By: Max Gelber, United with Israel