Palestinian Authority announces intention to sue Britain for Balfour Declaration

PA Foreign Minister announces intension to open “international criminal case” against Britain, claims Balfour Declaration of 1917 caused “catastrophe against the Palestinian people”; Calls on Arab League to support efforts

Abbas addresses the Arab League Tuesday (Reuters)

The Palestinian Authority announced their intentions to sue the British government for issuing the Balfour Declaration in 1917.

The announcement was made by the Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki who gave a speech in lieu of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during the 27th Arab League Summit in Nouakchott, Mauritania. Al-Maliki called on the Arab League to support the effort and warned Arab states against cooperation with the State of Israel.

The announcement is part of the Palestinian Authority’s’ ongoing efforts to seek statehood through international lobbying efforts, the Authority refusing to agree to direct talks with Israel without preconditions.

Al-Maliki announced that the Palestinian Authority “are working to open up an international criminal case for the crime which they [Britain] committed against our nation from the days of the British Mandate all the way to the massacre which was carried out against us from 1948 onwards.”

He stated “With the coming of this painful anniversary, the passing of approximately 100 years since the historic massacre of our land and our peoples’ fates, and with the continuation of this catastrophe without a resolution, we call on the secretariat general of the Arab League to support us in preparing a legal file to raise against the British government for issuing the Balfour Declaration and thereafter implementing it as a mandatory authority,” claiming the Declaration “caused this catastrophe against the Palestinian people.”

He stated that the Palestinian people “will not forget the good countries and peoples, especially our Arab brothers and many other friendly countries, who extended and still extend their hands in supporting, standing beside, and embracing our people in its trials and tribulations… We warn Arab states of the concept of regional cooperation and security which is aimed at creating regional security cooperation between Arab countries and Israel and normalizing relations before the end of the Israeli occupation.”

The Balfour Declaration was a letter written by then Foreign Secretary James Balfour to Walter Rothschild in 1917, where he declared support from Britain’s government for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”

The letter read:

“I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty’s government, the following declaration of sympathy with the Jewish Zionists aspirations which has been submitted to and approved by the Cabinet.

His Majesty’s government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors 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…”