Will PA sue Britain?

Pro-PA experts on international law support legal proceedings against Britain over the Balfour Declaration.

Dalit Halevi,

Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas

Pro-Palestinian Arab experts on international law support legal proceedings against Britain for its responsibility for the “occupation of Palestine” and the commitment to establish a national homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine based on the 1917 Balfour Declaration.

Mohammad Jamil, head of the Arab Organization for Human Rights, told the Hamas-affiliated newspaper Palestine that the "crimes" committed by Britain include granting permission for the massive immigration of Jews to "the land of historic Palestine" and for "massacres" committed against Palestinians.

Jamil noted that a British apology for the Balfour Declaration would have moral importance, but a lawsuit would have far-reaching financial implications.

Hanna Issa, an expert on international law, argued that the legal precedent of Germany granting reparations to Holocaust survivors can be used to raise a similar demand against Britain.

Palestinian Arab organizations have for months been waging a campaign aimed at forcing Britain to apologize for the document. Last week, the Palestinian Authority government in Ramallah demanded not just a British apology for the document, but also compensation.

Last Sunday, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said he was proud of the Balfour Declaration and of the role Britain played in creating the state of Israel.

And, on Thursday, speaking during an official dinner marking the 100th anniversary of the Declaration, British Prime Minister Theresa May outright rejected the calls for Britain to apologize.

“Balfour wrote explicitly that 'nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country,'” she said.

“So when some people suggest we should apologize for this letter, I say absolutely not,” she continued.