Arab capitals protest Balfour Declaration centennial

3rd Nov 2017
Arab capitals protest Balfour Declaration centennial

By Wassim Seifeddine, Yosra Ouanes and Laith Juneidi


BEIRUT, Lebanon (AA): Several Arab countries on Thursday saw large protests marking the centennial of the Balfour Declaration, which paved the way for Israel’s establishment in 1948.

In Lebanon, the Palestinian Alliance of Forces held a sit-in protest outside the office of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) in Beirut.

Hundreds of children from Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon took part in the rally, raising Palestinian flags and shouting slogans condemning the 1917 declaration.

“The Palestinian people are committed to completely liberating their land,” Ali Barakah, Hamas’s representative in Lebanon, told Anadolu Agency on the sidelines of the event.

He reiterated the Palestinian people’s rejection of the fateful document, in which the British government expressed its support for a “homeland for the Jewish people” in Palestine.

The Secretary-General of the Palestinian Popular Struggle Front, Khalid Abdul-Majid, said in a speech delivered on behalf of the Palestinian Forces Alliance, which is composed of various Palestinian political factions, that the Palestinians would “continue to demand their national and historic rights until their country was liberated”.

“The Palestinian cause is passing through a critical phase, but the people continue to make sacrifices and revolt in the face of the imperialist project targeting our nation,” Abdul-Majid said at the sit-in.

He went on to say there were “new projects” underway in the Middle East “aimed at ending the Arab-Israeli conflict and pushing the region into sectarian conflict”.

At the end of the sit-in, the Palestinian Forces Alliance delivered a formal letter of protest to ESCWA officials.

In Tunisia, meanwhile, dozens of activists staged a protest outside the British embassy in the capital Tunis to demand the U.K.’s apology for the Balfour Declaration.

The protest was organized by the Tunisian Association for Tolerance, the National Authority for Supporting Resistance and the Anti-Normalization and Zionism League.

There, too, protesters presented the embassy with a written letter demanding a formal apology.

Demonstrators chanted slogans such as “Down with British colonialism”, “the people want to liberate Palestine” and “death to Israel”.

In Jordan, dozens of people protested outside the British embassy in Amman to denounce the 1917 document.

The rally was organized by the Jordanian National Committee, a local NGO.

Protesters held banners aloft and shouted slogans holding Britain legally and morally responsible for the declaration — and the subsequent Palestinian suffering it caused.

“A mere 120 words in English,” demonstrators shouted, “destroyed Palestine and displaced its people.”

[Photo:  Protest on the 100th anniversary of Balfour Declaration in Rabat, Morocco on November 02, 2017. Photographer: Jalal Morchidi/AA]

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