It was announced last week that Palestinian President Abbas is planning to sue Britain for issuing the Balfour Declaration and wants the Arab League to support him. As always his aim is the delegitimisation and ultimate removal of Israel from the map of the Middle East, but in making this move he is aiming at the wrong piece of paper!
The Balfour Declaration is rightly acclaimed as the starting point for a chain of actions and policies that culminated in the creation of the modern state of Israel. Without this first statement of intent by the British Government, it is possible that the dreams and good intentions behind it might never have come to realisation.
A few days after the publication of Abbas’ intention to sue Britain, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Director General, Dore Gold, succinctly explained in a public statement why it is pointless to aim legal action at the Declaration itself.
Pointing out that there is no legal basis for the Palestinians’ proposal, he also summed up the reasons why the Declaration is not the right piece of paper to try and aim litigation at :
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.
The link above goes to a fascinating article about the steps the League of Nations took some 94 years ago towards the establishment of a Jewish homeland in what was then Palestine.
You can read more about Mr Gold’s statement concerning this here.