Abbas spokesman:
'Balfour Declaration the crime of the century'

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, official spokesman of PA chairman, says Britain should correct the "historic mistake" of the Balfour Declaration.

Dalit Halevi,

Nabil Abu Rudeineh
Nabil Abu Rudeineh

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the official spokesman of Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas, on Wednesday blasted the Balfour Declaration and called it “the crime of the century”.

The November 2, 1917, Balfour Declaration was sent by then-British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour and proclaimed Britain’s support for the establishment of a Jewish national home in then-Palestine.

Palestine was not the name of an Arab state, but the ancient name given by the Roman Empire to the area south of Syria reaching from the Mediterranean to the Arabian Sea.

In a statement issued to mark the 99th anniversary of the declaration, Abu Rudeineh said that this "crime" brought disaster upon the Palestinian Arab people whose consequences, including living as refugees, are evident to this day. The Balfour Declaration, however, protected the rights of minorities in the Jewish homeland.

He called on Britain to reconsider its position and correct its "historical mistake" which, he claimed, remains a “mark of Cain on the forehead of humanity.”

Abbas’s spokesman further said that the "colonial approach" is what “sowed the seeds of the wars that still take place in the region and the world”. The Palestinian leadership, said Abu Rudeineh, continues to work to correct the "injustice" through the formal, international recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people.

His remarks come several days after the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) launched a new campaign in an attempt to force Great Britain to apologize for the Balfour Declaration.

The PLO has gone so far as to threaten to sue Britain over the 99-year-old document. The threat has been criticized by Israeli officials, including former Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold, who said the initiative “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.”