Foreign Ministry chief blasts initiative to sue UK

Dr. Dore Gold: PA initiative to sue UK over Balfour Declaration shows its refusal to accept the Jewish people's connection to Israel.

Ben Ariel,

Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold
Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold
Hadas Parush/Flash 90

Foreign Ministry Director-General Dr. Dore Gold reacted to the Palestinian Authority's (PA) initiative to sue Britain over the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which helped pave the way to the establishment of the State of Israel, saying the move demonstrates yet again the continuing refusal of the Palestinian side to recognize the legitimate and indigenous connection of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland.

On Monday, speaking to a gathering of Arab League leaders in Mauritania, PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki appealed for help on behalf of PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas to "bring a suit against the British government over the ominous Balfour Declaration which resulted in the Nakba ["catastrophe" - how Palestinians refer to the establishment of Israel - ed.] for the Palestinian people."

Responding to the appeal, Dr. Gold said, “Quite apart from the obvious lack of any legal basis for Abbas' claim, his initiative itself demonstrates yet again the continuing refusal of the Palestinian side to recognize the legitimate and indigenous connection of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland, alongside the recognition the Palestinians seek for their own rights.”

“The legal significance of the Balfour Declaration emanated from the fact that it was incorporated by the League of Nations into the 1922 Mandate for Palestine. That mandate recognized the historical connection of the Jewish people to that area and that it provided the grounds for them to reconstitute their national home there,” continued Gold.

“This recognition came at a time when the Ottoman Empire, was crumbling and renouncing its sovereignty in the areas south of Modern Turkey. The League of Nations Mandate had the effect of transforming the policy position expressed in the Balfour Declaration into an internationally recognized international legal obligation to give effect to the inherent right of the Jewish people to self-determination in their ancient homeland. “

“Rights that were recognized by the League of Nations in that period were preserved by its successor organization, the United Nations, through Article 80 of the UN Charter,” said Gold, who pointed out that “neither the Balfour Declaration nor the Mandate created the historical rights of the Jewish people to their homeland. Rather, these documents together recognized pre-existing rights that the Jewish people never conceded. Indeed thousands of Jews poured back into their ancient homeland well before the Balfour Declaration was issued.”

“Israel has insisted that at the end of any negotiation with the Palestinian leadership, it should recognize the rights of the Jewish people to a nation-state, just as many have been insisting that Israel recognize the rights of the Palestinians to a state of their own,” said Gold.

“The statement of Mahmoud Abbas that the Arab League should help sue the British government for the Balfour Declaration is yet another resounding 'no' to Israel's fair request for reciprocity through mutual recognition and compromise. It is this stand by the Palestinian leadership that serves as a core obstacle to achieving genuine peace,” he said.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu earlier this week said the Palestinians will fail if they go through with their bid to sue Britain over the Balfour Declaration.

“Of course they will fail” if they file the lawsuit, Netanyahu said at a memorial ceremony marking 112 years since the death of Theodor Herzl.

“After almost 4,000 years of Jewish history, almost 100 years after the Balfour Declaration and 68 years since the founding of the State of Israel, there are still those who deny our connection to this land. It is very clear that the root of the conflict is the fact that they refuse to recognize a Jewish home with any borders,” added Netanyahu.




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