Archives for posts with tag: Palestinian

The Balfour Declaration – 2nd November 1917

The prayer on the streets of Jerusalem instead of Al-Aqsa is a sight that pains me and gives me strength in equal measure

On Wednesday 29 October the occupation decided to close the Al-Aqsa Mosque for prayer. That is an important infringement on Palestinian rights, but it is not grave and has to be put into perspective. It is the bigger picture that is being lost on us. What we no longer see or hear about in any media outlet or school textbook is the degeneration of the Palestinian struggle for liberation.

We are constantly pushed towards the smaller fights in our conflict with Zionism. Roadblocks, prayer rights, and the struggle for the freedom of the detained all fade in comparison to the right of return of the Palestinian people.

The ethnic cleansing of Palestine, the Nakba that displaced over 800,000 Palestinians, the constant land theft* are the true gifts granted to us (at least in part) by the generosity of “Sir” Arthur Balfour 97 years today on 2nd of November 1917. When he granted Palestine to the zionist movement he was acting in the name of the government of his Majesty the King of Great Britain.

The importance of the Declaration to the zionist entity cannot be underestimated. It is frequently used as a proof of legitimacy by the occupation. In his book The Invention of the Land of Israel Shlomo Sand writes:

“..second only to the Bible, the Balfour Declaration is regarded as the most decisive source of moral and political legitimacy of the Jews’ right to the ‘Land of Israel’.” 

It is that fabrication of legitimacy that we are constantly battered into forgetting by the Zionist entity and its cohort of supporters. By directing media focus on a multitude of increasingly smaller issues we are driven further and further away from the true struggle for liberation. Instead, an exaggerated religiocentric fight is being highlighted to grant an illegitimate entity a right to a land it never should have had. A land it gained through the Declaration.

So in the spirit of remembrance I am going to list below a few points about the Balfour Declaration on the 97th anniversary of its issuance. I hope they refresh your memory. Please share them with others so that they too may remember:

  • The Ottoman Empire was the first target for the zionist advances  that sought to carve out Palestine as a “jewish state”. After the zionist leaders failed in that effort, they turned their attention to other powers and eventually Britain made its commitment in the form of the Balfour Declaration.
  • The Declaration is racist by definition as is clear in its text where no mention of Arabs or Palestinians is made and only reference is given to “non-Jewish communities in Palestine”. Further evidence is given by the author of the declaration himself at a later time when announcing the importance of Zionism:

“Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present deeds, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land”

-Arthur Balfour

  • The Palestinian rejection of the Balfour Declaration was and remains to be universal. After it became known to the Palestinians anti-british and anti-zionist riots occurred in 1920 and 1921.
  • While the Declaration smashed the door of the conflict wide open, the “immigration” of jews towards Palestine had started earlier around 1882.
  • The Balfour Declaration was a promise by those who did not own to those who were/are undeserving at the expense of the rightful people of the land. This is a fact that will never change and one that we would do well to remember.

The Man who promised a land he did not own to the racist zionist movement.

Please have a look at the proposed State of Palestine Mr. Mahmoud Abbas is doing his best to promote. You will not see Palestine. You will see a discontinuous territory that is less than 22% of Palestine. If you want to see Palestine you have to look at maps that go further back in time, maps before 1948 or even further, before the fateful Declaration. Personally I don’t have to look at a map to see Palestine, I can draw it from memory. I will never forget the truth, I will always remember: This land is ours and we shall return.

* Different types of land theft include settlements, the Apartheid Wall, road building and “development” plans (the Prawer Plan for example)


The following quote is what Edward Said thinks no Palestinian can forget

Violence has been an extraordinarily important aspect of our lives. Whether it has been the violence of our uprooting and the destruction of our society in 1948, the violence visited on us by our enemies, the violence we have visited on others or, most horribly, the violence we have wreaked on each other.

Edward Said (1986), After the Last Sky, London: Vintage p. 5.

I believe that today this applies to all the oppressed societies in the world. Violence has become such a dominant scene in our lives it has become the norm.

It seems that even our daily struggle for a living is violent. Its a more subtle kind of violence in which we are grinding out our needs from the toughest of stones, but its a daily violence nonetheless.