From Balfour to Balfour

Pardon my hysterical laughter. I am certain it can be heard all the way from London to Ramallah. It is the biggest joke of a century.

103 years ago on 2 August 1917, the Foreign Secretary of Great Britain issued a famous declaration which bears his name. It was written in the name of His Majesty, the King of England, and delivered to Lord Rothschild, head of the Zionist Federation.

In that Declaration it stated that” His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a homeland for the Jewish people”…. With a specific clause that “nothing shall be done to harm the rights of non-Jews living in Palestine, etc.”

Today, the Palestinians want to bring legal action against the British government for the approval of Balfour’s historic declaration, claiming that Britain had no authority to determine the status of their land in Palestine.

In 1917 when the Balfour Declaration was issued, Palestine was under the sovereignty of the Turkish Ottoman empire. There was no independent Palestinian nation in 1917, never before and never since.

There is a body today called the Palestinian Authority but the joke is that there is no Palestine over which to have any authority.

Great Britain, in fact, was given the mandate over Palestine by the League of Nations immediately upon the defeat of the Ottoman Turks. And the 1917 Balfour Declaration was voted unanimously by the countries of the League of Nations at the 1922 conference in San Remo.

That historic vote confirmed the right of the Jews to establish their permanent home in what was pre-state Palestine and which was recognized by the League’s successor, the United Nations, in 1948.

A declaration issued 103 years ago is valid by the vote of all the majority of nations. Since there was (and still is not) any State of Palestine, opposition comes mainly from some Arab and Muslim delegates.

If any nation and people have a legitimate right to protest Britain’s disagreeable action, the right would belong to Israel to sue for British gifting to the Emir Abdullah of Trans-Jordan of 77% of the territory of biblical Palestine. Leaving only a mere 23% to the Jews.

Following the 1947 British partition of Palestine, Arab riots and massacres against Jewish civilians in Palestine increased with massive fury and shedding of Jewish blood.

While the Zionist leaders extended a hand in peace to the Palestinians promising them all civil rights in a future Jewish state, the Jewish hand of peace was severed by the Arab hand of murder and destruction.

On 14 May 1948, David Ben-Gurion, leader of the Mapai faction of the newly established State of Israel, became elected by vote to be the first prime minister of the Jewish state, the first leader of a Jewish nation in two thousand years.

On that historic day while Jews were dancing in the streets rejoicing in the re-birth of their homeland after an exile of two thousand years, the Arabs of Palestine, joined by the Arabs of Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, supported by Muslim states in the Gulf, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and every other Muslim country in the world, joined together to wipe the new Jewish State of Israel off the face of the new world map.

Two large western nations, the United States of America and the Soviet Union, were the first to officially recognize the State of Israel as the Jewish homeland in accordance with the 1917 Balfour Declaration and the 1922 San Remo Conference which upheld its historic reality.

The moronic threat of the Palestinians to invalidate Balfour’s 1917 declaration can be compared to Britain’s attempt to denounce the American Revolution which ended British rule in the American colonies, prior to independence proclaimed in 1775.

Can you still hear me laughing? My sides ache from the raucous laughter.

And since there is not and has never been an independent Palestinian state, why bother to create one now? Until 1947 the Palestinians never referred to themselves as Palestinians. Their identity was south Syrians, the area of their origins.

As the saying goes “let sleeping dogs lie”. And if they awake and begin barking at us, throw a net upon their heads and lock them in kennels fit for mad howling beasts.

And now we go from one Balfour, our British hero, to one who lives on Balfour street in the heart of Jewish Jerusalem. I hope that one will not be living on Balfour street much longer.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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