In the wake of the Israeli killing of Palestinian freedom fighter, Ahmad al-Jabari – the head of Hamas’s military wing – it is worthwhile recalling just how we got to the present strange set of affairs whereby European immigrants were permitted to steal the land belonging to the native population of Palestine and their descendants are allowed to terrorise them with impunity.
There was a fine letter published in the Guardian a couple of weeks ago drawing attention to the 95th anniversary of the infamous Balfour Declaration:
Today is the 95th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, when the then foreign secretary, Arthur Balfour, signed a fateful letter to Lord Rothschild announcing that the British government “view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a National Home for the Jewish people”. Britain thus gave the zionist movement carte blanche to transform the overwhelmingly Arab state of Palestine into a Jewish one.
To further this aim, from 1920 onwards, Britain encouraged the mass immigration into Palestine of hundreds of thousands of European Jews, expressly against the wishes of the majority population. As Palestine descended into chaos, the British washed their hands of their responsibility for the mess they had caused and stood by while hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were terrorised into fleeing their homeland, as Palestine was transformed into Israel.
We call for the British government to acknowledge publicly the responsibility of previous British administrations from 1917 to 1948 for the catastrophe that befell the Palestinians, when over threequarters were expelled deliberately and systematically by the zionist army. Most of them remain refugees today without redress. The truth about their expulsions is still not officially established, since Israel officially denies any responsibility for it.