Riyad al-Maliki
Riyad al-MalikiFlash 90

The Palestinian Authority has urged the Arab League to help it sue Great Britain for the Balfour Declaration, which helped pave the way for the establishment of the State of Israel.

Speaking to a gathering of Arab League leaders in Mauritania, PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki appealed for help 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."

The Balfour Declaration - authored by then UK Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur James Balfour - was signed in 1917, and pledged British support for the establishment of a Jewish national homeland in what was then Ottoman-ruled Palestine.

Subsequent British governments actively walked back on much of the Declaration, most notoriously the White Paper of 1939. However the Balfour Declaration is still seen as a key breakthrough in the Zionist struggle to gain international legitimacy for a reestablished Jewish homeland in the Land of Israel.

It is not clear whether al-Maliki's call was a serious one, or merely the latest in a long string of hyperbolic verbal assaults on the State of Israel's legitimacy by PA leaders.

The British government has yet to comment on the topic.