No marking Balfour, an apology and seeking justice
Your Excellency Ambassador/British Ambassador to Italy and San Marino Jill Morris CMG
We are contacting you on behalf of the Palestinian communities Associazione dei Palestinesi in Italia (Api) to urge you to ask the government of the United Kingdom to acknowledge its responsibility to help resolve the current situation in Palestine and the plight of the Palestinians.
As it is the centenary of the Balfour Declaration in November 2017, it is time to be candid about the fact that British government ministers and officials of the time had internationally, not inadvertently, laid the groundwork for a Jewish state in Palestine, while deliberately hiding this from the Palestinians and all the Arabs. Palestinians comprised over 90% of the population of Palestine at the time.
The 1917 Balfour Declaration was the direct cause of the catastrophe that befell the Palestinians while under the British Mandate control, wherein Zionist groups ethnically cleansed 750,000 Palestinians and established the state of Israel in what was then Palestine.
Now there are over 7 million Palestinian refugees around the world, many of them still living in refugee camps. They are ‘stateless’ with no documents to work, travel or enjoy basic human rights.
Britain should face its historical responsibility, acknowledge what it has done and atone for this mistake, for which Palestinians still suffer the unjust consequences. Israel continues, with impunity, to occupy and colonize Palestinian land, to violate the human rights of Palestinians every day and has committed documented war crimes.
It is devastating for us to learn that the British government is allowing a ‘celebration’ in London on 7th November 2017, at the Royal Albert Hall by the Balfour 100 Ltd company. This is a company which has dedicated its work to obtain popular support in the UK to shield Israel from accountability for its crimes against the Palestinian people for the last 70 years. Balfour 100 Ltd, an organisation comprised of a radical group with a dangerous political stance, which supports settler-colonization, ethnic cleansing and countless violations of international law, will be exploiting the prestigious name of the Royal Albert Hall.
We do acknowledge the impossibly of undoing the harm done 100 years ago, but we do urge you to persuade your government to stop any celebration or festive marking of the Balfour Declaration. The centenary anniversary is an opportunity to apologize to the Palestinians for failing to uphold Palestinian rights during the Mandate. This moral and ethical step would greatly contribute to advancing the cause of justice and achieving peace in the region and support the work of all those around the world who strive to bring peace and justice to the Palestinians.
Associazione dei Palestinesi in Italia
Arch. Hannoun Mohammad