Unreal and totally expected:
No one who follows the Palestinian issue will be very surprised to hear of the call by Mahmoud Abbas to sue the British government over the Balfour declaration of November 1917. That was the famous letter which pledged to support the establishment of a “national home” for the Jewish people in Palestine and is seen as a key milestone for the Zionist movement.
The promise by Arthur Balfour, then foreign secretary, led to the British mandate, mass Jewish immigration and eventually to the creation of Israel in the wake of the second world war and the Holocaust, and to the Palestinian “Nakba” (catastrophe).
All roads lead to ‘nakba.”
Not that while the Guardian is careful to note that the Holocaust was a factor in the creation of Israel, it wouldn’t say that Arab rejectionism, antisemitism and the desire to throw the Jews into the sea along with Arab leaders’ using Palestinians as pawns were factors to the “nakba.”
Threatening legal action over a 99-year-old document is certainly a stretch, and it attracted more ridicule than serious analysis. It has in any case long been superseded by other decisions including UN resolutions. Still, the statement may be seen as a symptom of desperation about the Palestinian cause at a time when the peace process is non-existent and hopes for an end to occupation and a two-state solution to the conflict appear moribund.
“I regard what Abbas said as as a cry of anger and despair rather than a statement of intent,” said Sir Vincent Fean, former British consul-general in Jerusalem and effectively ambassador to the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967. “I don’t see how he can do what he has undertaken to do. But the problem is that the two-state solution that he has advocated and argued for for so long is rapidly drifting away.”
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