By Amira Abo el-Fetouh
When November arrives with its windy and rainy winter, a painful memory accompanies it; a memory which doomed the nation to live in a permanent winter and a permanent stormy season after which no spring comes, since the Balfour fateful promise. 2 November 1917: the day Palestine was lost. The day Arthur James Balfour sent a letter to Lord Lionel Walter Rothschild, one of the leaders of the World Zionist movement, indicating the British government’s support for the establishment of a national homeland for Jews in Palestine. It is the promise of he who does not own, to he who does not deserve.
At that time, the number of Jews in Palestine was no more than 50,000, while the number of Jews throughout the world was estimated at around 12 million. The Jews in Palestine accounted for only five per cent of the 650,000 Palestinians, who had owned the land for thousands of years. However, this ominous promise ignored the indigenous Palestinian population and only recognized some civil and religious rights, obscuring their political, economic and administrative rights.
Although the Balfour Declaration recognized the right of the Jews to establish a national homeland, more dangerous was the Conference of Versailles, which was held two years later in 1919, resulting in the document of the agreement between Prince Faisal, representative of the Hejaz Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Dr. Chaim Weizmann, representative of the World Zionist Organization. This agreement included provisions that denied Palestinians their rights, and strengthened the Jewish presence in Palestine, such as the following:
All measures should be taken to encourage the large-scale immigration of Jews to Palestine, and urge them as quickly as possible to settle immigrants in the land, through housing and intensive agriculture.
Through the Versailles document, the call was launched to all the Jews throughout the world to gather from the Diaspora. Palestine opened the door wide, and they all responded to this call. Thus, a lasting process of Jewish immigration from all corners of the world to Palestine continued. In the Jewish melting pot, more than seventy nationalities fused and this was the first step towards establishing an entity for the Jews. The Balfour Declaration was the legal cover upon which the World Zionist Organisation was based, to support its demand for the establishment of the Jewish state in Palestine and the fulfillment of the dream of the Jews, who had achieved what they aspired to, as the dream of establishing the state of Israel eventually became a reality on 15 May 1948.
Israel joined the United Nations as a member state under pressure from the world’s major powers, and it became the first country in the history of the global political system to emerge on usurped land, after it displaced its native people outside their homeland and received international support and unprecedented support from the largest country in the world, the USA. This made this entity the most arrogant and the most ravaging in the region, waging wars, expanding and devouring more Palestinian and Arab lands, and oppressing the rest of the Palestinian people on its land, mercilessly and inhumanely.
I will not probe into the history or the reasons that led Great Britain to establish this Zionist entity, and the unlimited Western support for it. What was said, and the human and religious arguments introduced, will remain false and fraud as they are meant to embellish that Western imperial project called Israel, which was planted in the region to protect Western colonial interests, being called at that time “the guard dog in the region.”
Now, 102 years after the fateful Balfour Declaration, and after the Zionist takeover of more Palestinian lands, in addition to America’s recognition of Jerusalem as the unified capital of Israel, what did the Arabs do to liberate Palestine and bring it back to the Arab embrace?
Unfortunately, nothing was done, but trading with the Palestinian case by the Arab leaders. Besides, after the armed struggle clause was dropped from the Palestinian Liberation Organisation’s document, and the Oslo agreement which was concluded in exchange for a fake power that the Palestinian authority has nothing to do with, and which was actually a form of security coordination with the Zionist enemy to save its entity, the Palestinian cause would have been lost and no one would have remembered it, had it not been for Hamas and its resistance.
It is Hamas that makes Palestine and its dignity alive in Arab and international conscience, especially after the so-called peace agreements and the rush of the Arabs to the Zionist entity, kneeling down to such an entity, seeking to normalize it, and asking Trump to accelerate the implementation of the alleged “deal of the century,” in order to get rid of this chronic headache and put an end to the Palestinian issue.
So, while the 1907 Balfour Declaration granted the Jews a national homeland in Palestine, the peace and normalization agreements with the Zionist enemy have granted the Zionist entity the entire Arab homeland, enabling it to realize the dream of “Greater Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates!”
- Dr Amira Abo el-Fetouh is a political writer. Her article appeared in MEMO.