Ninety-one years after Britain’s Foreign Minister Arthur Balfour issued a declaration, calling for the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine, a Palestinian non-governmental organization plans to sue Britain.
The organization, called Watanuna (Our Homeland), began a campaign on November 2 (the 91th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration), aiming to gather one million signatures of people calling to sue the British government for its role in the suffering of the Palestinian people.
After Watanuna reaches its goal of one million signatures, it promises to go to the British court and demand that the British government give the Palestinian people political, moral and material compensation.
During the First World War, British policy became gradually committed to the idea of establishing a Jewish home in Palestine. After discussions in the British Cabinet, and consultation with Zionist leaders, the decision was made known in the form of a letter by foreign minister Balfour to Lord Rothschild.
The letter represented the first political recognition of Zionist aims by a great power.
Watanuna has gathered legal documents “proving Britain’s responsibility for the catastrophe of the Palestinian people,” ‘Ali ‘Ubeidat, a spokesman on behalf of the organization, told reporters.
“Legal institutions and organizations committed to the Palestinian refugees’ problem are cooperating in the gathering of live testimonies from Palestinians, who lived during the British Mandate [1918-1948],” ‘Ubeidat added.
The organization conducted a series of meetings with Palestinian legal experts and activists before launching its campaign, and it is now calling on Arab and Muslim countries to support its goals.
“If the British court will not hear us out, we will go to the International Court of Justice,” Watanuna’s legal adviser, attorney Iyad Jabarin, told reporters.
The campaign was first launched in Palestinian universities across the Palestinian territories, and so far the organization claims it has gathered over 10,000 signatures.
The Media Line tried to contact the offices of Watanuna, but was unable to reach them for further comment.
The Balfour Declaration:
November 2, 1917
Dear Lord Rothschild,
I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.
“His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”
I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.
Arthur James Balfour
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