THERESA MAY’S declaration that she will celebrate the infamous Balfour declaration centenary “with pride” exposes the hypocrisy of her government’s supposed commitment to a two-state solution.
The fact that she will commemorate Britain’s secretive betrayal of the Palestinian people alongside Israel’s blood-soaked leader Benjamin Netanyahu identifies our country as a collaborator with zionist expansionism.
During Israel’s last general election, Netanyahu pledged to the electorate that no Palestinian state would ever exist on his watch.
Once safely re-elected, his international allies asked him to reaffirm supposed commitment to the formula of Israel and Palestine coexisting side by side, which he did, confident that none would challenge his blatant duplicity.
There is no justification for pride in the sentiments of the Balfour Declaration or the manner of its concoction.
Palestine — then a province of the disintegrating Ottoman empire — was not Britain’s territory to award. It should have been up to the Palestinian people themselves to chart their future, but a stitch-up was carried out behind their backs.
Had it not been for the decision of Russia’s revolutionary leaders to publish all secret wartime agreements drawn up by the overthrown tsarist autocracy and its French and British allies, Palestinians would have been unaware of this betrayal of their national rights.
May’s government has previously rejected Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s call to apologise for Balfour. It explained that “establishing a homeland for the Jewish people in the land to which they had such strong historical and religious ties was the right and moral thing to do, particularly against the background of centuries of persecution.”
This statement ignores the reality that centuries-long Jewish persecution happened in Christian Europe not in Palestine. Nor was Palestine a vacant property or, as the zionists put it, “a land without people for a people without land.”
Aside from a small Jewish population, Palestine was overwhelmingly Arab, mainly Muslim and partly Christian.
That was altered by Jewish migration to Palestine under British rule, followed by massacres and ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Arabs when Jewish armed units forced 700,000 people to abandon their homeland prior to establishment of the state of Israel.
Ethnic cleansing has continued apace since Israel’s six-day aggressive war against its Arab neighbours in 1967.
Tel Aviv claimed that land occupied then would be evacuated later, but it has colonised Syria’s Golan Heights, declared East Jerusalem’s annexation and is preparing a similar outcome for its ever-expanding Jews-only illegal settlements on the West Bank.
Theresa May and other apologists for Israel’s expansionism, who pay lip service to a two-state solution but refuse to speculate where it might be sited, are as deceitful as Balfour and his co-conspirators.
They know that the zionist project involves the maximum extension possible of Israel’s borders, with Palestinians confined to the equivalent of apartheid South Africa’s supposedly self-governing bantustans.
Yet international “mediators” prioritise ordering Palestinians to renounce violence while Israeli occupation forces brutalise civilians, use lethal force against stone-throwing children and colonise Palestinian land remorselessly.
May’s government is implicated in Israeli expansionism by uttering false anti-semitism claims against pro-Palestine campaigners and by colluding in censorship of the anti-zionist case, such as Transport for London’s ban on buses carrying demands for justice.
Celebrating the Balfour Declaration cannot be reconciled with supporting Palestinian national rights, which is why Labour shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry should follow Jeremy Corbyn’s lead in not attending this shameless event.