Even when lost, they say search for beginnings. However; beginnings flashback differently when it comes to Palestinians.
Beginnings sometimes hold tight bloody stains when mentioning Balfour’s inexcusable lie.
The Secret of a 67-Word Letter
With a simple 67-word letter sent on November 2, 1917, the British foreign secretary, Lord Arthur Balfour, irreversibly changed the profiles of the Palestinian reality and future.
Declaring his aim to establish “a national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine, the letter was made during World War I (1914-1918) after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.
Outlining British support for the establishment of a Jewish state, it set in motion a series of events that culminated in the declaration of the State of Israel in 1948.
This is what had previously been Palestinian land and by extension, the eventual occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza strip.
Displacement and Demolition
In what is now known as the Nakba, or the catastrophe, around 750,000 native Palestinians were forcibly displaced from their homes in 1948.
Meanwhile, Jewish migration regulated by the British mandate was increasing, rising from 9% to 27% of the local population between 1922 and 1935.
It’s noteworthy that one of the most prominent Israeli state’s main tools to facilitate change is the demolition of Palestinian houses.
According to The Land Research Centre in Jerusalem, the Israeli occupation demolished 125,000 Palestinian houses and displaced 800,000 Palestinians, about 47 per cent of the Palestinians during the 1948 Nakba.
Adding to the list, the continuous Israeli attacks that led to the occupation of about 78% of historical Palestine and demolished about 4,500 houses, rendering 30,000 Palestinians homeless between 1948 and 2021.
Civilizing the “Uncivilized”?
When Lord Arthur James Balfour sent his letter to Lord Rothschild, the letter promised that “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”.
The truth was that Britain cared little for the Arabs in Palestine. Palestinians were actually viewed as a “problem”. Britain’s goal was to help the Zionists establish a Jewish “homeland” on territory which was home to Palestinian people.
This rings a bell to what Winston Churchill once commented on Palestine regarding the 1937 Peel Commission, as he said:
“Palestine never will be cultivated by the Arabs. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race has come in and taken their place.”
Time to End this Misery
Palestinians have been living in a vicious circle of unending calamities since 1917. This declaration was never a letter only, but a continuous misery that Palestinians pay its taxes from their bloods, homes, souls and the very dearest ones to their hearts.
Despite the ongoing crimes committed against the Palestinian people, Britain officialdom never miss a chance talking in pride regarding its disgraceful situation supporting Israel and funding weapons that kill Palestinians.
Britain finds it an opportunity to appeal the International Community to take an action on what’s going on in Ukraine, forgetting all about its hands stained with Palestinian blood.
It is high time for Britain and the entire international community to take vigorous action to break the century-old logjam created and perpetuated by the great colonial Powers.
This man-made logjam has prevented the principles of self-determination guaranteed for Palestinians from being applied fairly and equally.
Isn’t a century since that declaration was made, 70 years of Palestinian exile, 50 years of Israeli military occupation, hundrends of thousands of Palestinians murdered, detained or wounded. Isn’t it sufficient proof that Britain and Israel has no respect for International Law and Palestinian human, civil and religious rights?
Isn’t it the time for Britain to say “sorry” for all the crimes committed against Palestinians?
Though, I wonder if all “sorries” uttered since the history of mankind can bring a Palestinian soul back or compensate Palestinians a whole missed life?