Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has called on Britain to apologize for the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which supported the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, during Thursday’s speech at the UN General Assembly.
He said, “By the end of this year, 100 years will have passed since the Balfour Declaration. 70 years since the Nakba of the Palestinian people. And 50 years since Israel occupied the West Bank, including east Jerusalem and the Gaza strip,” he said, adding that, “This Paved the way for the Nakba of the Palestinian people; their dispossession, their displacement from their land.”
He went on to say, “We ask Great Britain, on this occasion of 100 years since this declaration… to bear its historic, legal, and moral responsibility for the results of this declaration, including an apology to the Palestinian people.”
Abbas claimed that in part, as a result of the Balfour declaration, Israel “since 1948 has persisted in its contempt for international legitimacy” and seized more than the land additionally allotted for the Jewish state.
“That’s almost 100 years ago,” said Netanyahu. “Talk about being stuck in the past! The Palestinians might as well sue Iran for the Cyrus declarations, or file a class action suit against Abraham, for buying land in Hebron,” he added, referencing a Persian edict allowing Jews to return to Judea in 539 BC and the Biblical patriarch.
“But they are not only stuck in past, they are poisoning the future,”
Netanyahu added, “President Abbas attacked the Balfour Declaration because it recognized the right of the Jewish people to a national home in the land of Israel. When the United Nations supported the establishment of a Jewish state in 1947, it recognized our historical and our moral rights in our homeland and to our homeland. Yet today, nearly 70 years later, the Palestinians still refuse to recognize those rights – not our right to a homeland, not our right to a state, not our right to anything. And this remains the true core of the conflict, the persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize the Jewish state in any boundary. You see, this conflict is not about the settlements. It never was.”
Watch the speech by Mahmoud Abbas in full. (WARNING: Contains lies)