Palestinian lawyers have lodged a complaint to sue the British government for the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which set out London’s aim to establish a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine.
On Thursday, the lawyers took the measure in the occupied northern West Bank city of Nablus, highlighting that “the suffering of the Palestinians” emanated from the UK document.
“The Balfour Declaration is unacceptable. It was not just a declaration, but a birth certificate for a regime with letters of shame and injustice. It was a replacement tactic drawn by Britain in partnership with Zionists, ignoring the rights of more than 93% of Palestinian people, and granting the Jews, who at the time composed only 7% of the population, full rights,” Munib al-Masri, head of the Federation of Independent and Democratic Trade Unions, told a news conference in Ramallah.
He added, “The British mandate is at the root of the suffering of the Palestinian people and has paved the way for the violation of their rights and the plunder of their land.”
The complaint was filed on behalf of the International Commission to Support Palestinian People’s Rights and the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate in addition to the trade unions group.
The Balfour Declaration came in the form of a letter from Britain’s then-foreign secretary, Arthur Balfour, addressed to Lionel Walter Rothschild, a figurehead of the British Jewish community. It was published on November 2, 1917.
The declaration was made during World War I (1914-1918), and was included in the terms of the British Mandate for Palestine after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.
It is widely seen as the precursor to the 1948 Palestinian Nakba, when Zionist armed paramilitary groups, who were trained and created to fight side by side with the British in World War II, forcibly expelled more than 750,000 Palestinians from their homeland, captured huge swathes of the Arab land, and proclaimed existence of Israel.