Yisrael Medad
Analyst and commentator on political and cultural issues.

Who Need Apologize?

For several years, pro-Palestinianism activists in the United Kingdom have been promoting a recall of the Balfour Declaration.  You don’t think that Mahmoud Abbas came up with his idea to call for a suit against England all by himself, do you?

Now, with the 99th year anniversary approaching, they have bestirred themselves.  One new activity, here, is themed “apology”:-


and will be launched in Parliament this evening (Tuesday) under the banner of “Time to Say Sorry”.

Their mission statement, in part, reads:

…The Balfour Declaration, which had no basis of legal authority, promised the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, where the indigenous Palestinians amounted to 90% of the total population.

After the Balfour Declaration Palestine became the victim of colonialism…the Palestinian Return Centre has decided to re-launch its campaign which started in 2013 called Balfour Apology Campaign which asks the UK Government to officially apologies for its past colonial crimes in Palestine.

And, as is their wont, they “pen slip” you. You have to be careful reading their texts and you need know history.

Yes, there was no “legal authority basis” to the Balfour Declaration if they mean in the period between 1917 and 1920, and if you ignore its legality as a legitimate government policy.  You should also recall that basically, the negotiations known as the Husayn-McMahon correspondence, were a mirror image of what became the Balfour Declaration. So, if the Arabs could do what they did, why not the Jews?

And what does “no basis of legal authority” actually mean? Let’s recall that Great Britain was not alone in assuming a governing role for the future development of Palestine.

Starting at the Versailles Peace Conference in 1919 and at the San Remo Conference of April 1920, the Balfour Declaration assumed a legal standing of sorts in that it was incorporated in the language of the discussions and decisions of states and international bodies.

And then, in July 1922, in a most official way, in granting Great Britain a mandate over Palestine, which included the text of the Balfour Declaration, it became part of international law through a decision of the League of Nations.

Great Britain was not alone in seeking to fulfill the Balfour Declaration. It had the full backing of the world.

You see, that’s a “slip of the pen” they have presented to you.

Moreover, the League of Nations added something quite essential to understanding the pro-Arab Palestine camp in the decision:

Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country;

The Jews are historically connected to this land and all this Jerusalem and Temple Mount denial is not only wrong but illegal and against international law.

And in using “reconstituted”, which means to restore something to its original state, the decision established that the Jews indeed had possessed national rights to the land way before the Arabs.  This was strengthened by avoiding the use of the term “Arab” in all those documents – Balfour’s statement, the San Remo decision and the League of Nations mandate decision.  “Non-Jew” was the term employed. All this meant that only the Jews had full political and national rights whereas everyone else had but civil and religious ones.

If anyone has to apologize in this situation, the Arabs are they.  They need to apologize for using terror since 1920, for killing, maiming and raping Jews in a campaign of ethnic cleansing, for refusing to compromise, for violating international law and decisions of world bodies and for corrupting history.

Let’s launch our own “Arabs Need Apologize” campaign.

About the Author
Yisrael Medad, currently is a Research Fellow at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem and Deputy Editor of the English Language Anthology of Jabotinsky's Writings. American-born, he and his wife made Aliyah in 1970. He resides in Shiloh since 1981. He was a member of the Betar Youth Movement World Executive and is a volunteer spokesperson for the Yesha Council. He holds a MA in Political Science from the Hebrew University and is active is many Zionist and Jewish projects and initiatives.
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