Geneva- The creation of the Balfour Declaration which laid the foundation for the establishment of the State of Israel in Palestine created a century long ongoing series of injustice towards Palestinian rights," the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor expresses in a statement on the anniversary of the Balfour declarations establishment. Euro-Med went on to express that Britain is responsible for the violations that were linked to the fulfillment of the promise on the ground at a time when Palestine was under British Mandate.
The mandate position required Britain to manage its mandate nations in accordance with the interests of those nations’ residents, however, Great Britain was on the ground encouraging Jewish immigration to Palestine, bringing Jewish immigrants to the territories of indigenous people, as well as selling government’s large tracts of land and supplying immigrants with weapons.
British Foreign Secretary, Arthur James Balfour," issued his famous promise in a letter written to a senior leader of the Jewish movement, Lord Rothschild, pledging that Britain is doing its utmost to establish a national homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine, without detracting the civil and religious rights of non-Jewish communities that were resident in Palestine.
On this occasion, the Euro-Med Monitor calls on Britain to stand by its responsibilities in recognizing the rights of the Palestinian people and to end the long-term Israeli military occupation of Palestinian territories.
Euro-Med Monitor stresses that the Balfour Declaration was a clear dismissal of the rights of the residents of Palestine at the time. Neither Palestinian opinion was taken into account nor their response to the promise details that would affect their lives and their right to self-determination. The repercussions that followed the promise in terms of the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and the seizure of land, replaced with Israeli settlements instead stand as an ongoing issue as a result.
Britain became a Mandate State in Palestine on April 25, 1920, and was entrusted by the League of Nations, which was comprised of victorious countries after the end of the First World War, to enforce the Balfour Declaration.
"This represents an inherent contradiction with international law and the Charter of the League of Nations itself on the mandate. Article 22 of the League of Nations which defines mandate as the interim administration by one of the major states of the country over another unstable or politically immature country so that it can become independent after being guided by the advice and assistance of the mandating state," says Euro-Med Monitor .
The article also confirmed that the care of the temporary mandate must be compatible with the wishes of the people under the mandate, while, in fact, the promise included clearly appeared to be contrary to the wishes of the Palestinian people and no referendum was held to know the Palestinians' position on the promise.
In addition, Euro-Med Monitor assures that Covenant of the League of Nations also stated that mandate subjects have the primary right to choose the mandating State. The King-Crane Commission, initiated by President Wilson verifies the wishes of the Arab people in Palestine and, it showed that the majority of Palestinians chose independence.
The report of the Commission stated at the time that "it must be recognized that the non-Jewish population of Palestine, who are nine tenths of the population, almost all reject the Zionist program categorically."
The Euro-Med Monitor stresses that the Balfour Declaration and its build-up, as well as its violation of the powers and concept of the mandate, included many legal irregularities.
It was stated that Britain’s Foreign Minister had no jurisdiction over Palestine or any legal presence or connection with Palestine and therefore could not impose its decisions outside the borders of its own country or on residents of another country.
The Zionist movement which adopted the idea of establishing a national homeland for the Jews in Palestine did not have a legal right to exist on the land at the time, and the promise included racial discrimination by describing the state as a "national homeland for the Jews" deliberately excluding the Muslim and Christian population who lived in Palestine at the time and who constituted the majority of the population.
Euro-Med Monitor stresses that the Balfour Declaration blatantly contradicts of the right to self-determination. Even with the British Mandate in Palestine, Britain did not have the right to dispose the territories under its mandate or impose its will against the will of the population.
The Euro-Med Monitor confirms that the political climate which Britain created through the promise "caused a series of violations that the Palestinian people continue to suffer to this day." These include Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, where successive Israeli governments have built and expanded settlements in the territories they occupy, bringing the total number of settlements to 237. Israel has created in the Occupied Territories a discriminatory apartheid regime through its illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip since 2006, which has directly affected the lives of 2 million Palestinians the Gaza Strip, most of whom are refugees as a result of the implementation of the Balfour Declaration.
Euro-Med Monitor also notes that the Balfour Declaration effectively established a long series of policies and procedures for displacement and expulsion of Palestinians from their lands. More than 800,000 of them have been imprisoned over the past years and most have been subjected to military trials lacking fair trial guarantees. Hundreds of Palestinians are subject to arbitrary detention or administrative detention each year on the basis of unpronounced evidence without charge or trial.
Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor stresses that Britain is primarily responsible for the consequences of its 1917 promise and the destructive consequences of the promise at the expense of the Palestinian people. Euro-Med also stresses that Britain is responsible for facilitating the migration of Jews to Palestine and the displacement of the indigenous people, as well as the transfer of land and weapons to what was known as the Zionist gangs at the time.
Euro-Med Monitor calls on Britain to recognize its mistake regarding the Balfour Declaration, and thus, Britain must also work to reinforce and empower Palestinians' rights and compensate them for the massive harm the promise implications have made.