Days of Palestine

Saturday, January 28

UK foreign secretary 'proud' of Balfour Declaration

Days of Palestine -

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on Sunday he is “proud” of his country's role in helping create the occupation state of Israel.

Johnson defended his predecessor's role a century ago in paving the way for the creation of Israel, saying two sovereign states for Israelis and Palestinians remains the "only viable solution" for peace.

"I am proud of Britain's part in creating Israel," Johnson wrote in the Telegraph newspaper on Sunday, adding the declaration was “indispensable to the creation of a great nation.”

Johnson's comments come ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration which will be marked this Thursday in Britain.

The November 2, 1917, Balfour Declaration was sent by then-British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour and declared Britain’s support for the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine.

Palestinians are angry over the declaration and have for months been waging a campaign aimed at forcing Britain to apologise for the declaration.

The British government in April rejected the demand to apologise, saying: “The Balfour Declaration is a historic statement for which Her Majesty’s Government does not intend to apologise. We are proud of our role in creating the State of Israel. The task now is to encourage moves towards peace.”

Johnson praised the 1917 letter for its “incontestable moral goal: to provide a persecuted people with a safe and secure homeland.”

At the same time, he also stressed that London remained committed to a two-state solution.

“I have no doubt that the only viable solution to the conflict resembles the one first set down on paper by another Briton, Lord Peel, in the report of the Royal Commission on Palestine in 1937, and that is the vision of two states for two peoples,” Johnson wrote in an article.

The borders, he added, should be as they were before the Six Day war in 1967, with Jerusalem "a shared capital" and "equal land swaps to reflect the national, security, and religious interests of the Jewish and Palestinian peoples."

"A century on, Britain will give whatever support we can in order to close the ring and complete the unfinished business of the Balfour Declaration," he wrote.