|Lord Balfour, then British Foreign Secretary, and his famous letter.
Although she’s not an extremist, I’ve long found Ashrawi’s views to be problematic. For example, as our Israel Symposium discovered when meeting with her in 2012, she does not understand the ethnic/national nature of Jewish identify. (This year’s Israel Symposium begins on Saturday evening, Nov. 8.)
It’s obvious that Palestinian nationalists would bemoan the Balfour Declaration, which was emblematic of British imperialism in the Middle East. Still, the Balfour Declaration was a great step forward for the Jewish people. Where the Palestinians erred, to their everlasting grief, is in violently rejecting the partition plan for two states in Palestine, which the United Nations approved in Nov. 1947 as a reasonable remedy to the needs of both Arabs and Jews. This is a critical moment in history that Palestinians find very difficult to address forthrightly.
The following is the press release from Dr. Ashrawi’s office:
PLO Executive Committee
Department of Culture and Information
November 2, 2014
Dr. Ashrawi: “The British Government Must Take Action for its Historical Injustice in Palestine”
PLO Executive Committee member, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi stressed, “Ninety-seven years ago, the British government committed a grave historical injustice at the expense of the Palestinians by signing over their homeland to the Jewish people with the Balfour Declaration. Decades have passed and the people of Palestine continue to be denied their basic human rights to justice and self-determination.
The British government bears the human, legal, political, and moral responsibility to undo its serious mistakes of the past by recognizing the State of Palestine and supporting current and future Palestinian multilateral initiatives of resorting to all venues of international judicial accountability for Israel and the protection for Palestine.
The people of Palestine can no longer afford to wait as Israel succeeds with its extreme and escalating policies to Judaize Jerusalem and to ethnically cleanse it of its indigenous Muslim and Christian Palestinian residents, among other violations of international law. More specifically, with its most recent actions of closing Al-Aqsa Mosque and preventing Muslim worshippers from accessing Al-Haram Al-Sharif, Israel is undertaking a supreme and dangerous provocation and inciting sectarian warfare in the region and beyond.
Palestine is disappearing before our very own eyes; unless Britain, the European Union, the United Nations, and other members of the international community act immediately to hold Israel accountable, Israel will succeed in establishing ‘Greater Israel’ and in destroying the chances for a Palestinian state once and for all.”————-
To access this press release on the PLO DCI website, please click here.