rare but much needed conference on his infamous 1917 declaration. The event was
convened by the appropriately named organisation, the Palestine Return Centre
(PRC) on the 19th January 2013 in land
of Lord Balfour . London
It is rare because not only is the ‘Balfour Declaration’ and its brutal ramifications greatly understudied but the entire period of British total military and political dominance of the Middle East between 1917 and 1948 is more or less whitewashed from contemporary discussion. Yet, if we are to fully understand today’s
The declaration let it be known
Only in passing did Sizer insinuate on why British imperialism actually decided to issue the Balfour Declaration. He mentioned that Napoleon in the early nineteenth century had designs on the British imperialism’s main possession,
and thought the best way to attempt to wrestle this prize from the British was
to establish a route through Palestine into . India
What was lacking in Sizer’s paper was the then (1917) strategic significance of the Suez Canal to the
What motivated the publication of Lord Balfour’s declaration was security for the
There was a congruence of British and Zionist interests. Security of the canal was the prime motivator for British Imperialism and therefore the Balfour Declaration. The Zionist were nothing but a tool to safeguard the Empire’s strategic and military interests and they could have easily been ignored if this interest had not existed.
Other speakers presented interesting papers but my focus here is commenting on two further points raised at conference that need to be clarified.
Firstly, one of the speakers mentioned that the Balfour Declaration committed itself and placed the fifty to sixty thousand Jews already in
Secondly, Dr. Ghada Karmi in her presentation seemed to imply that the Peel report’s conclusions issued in 1939 advocating partition was a result of the
“…The Arabs demand a complete stoppage of all Jewish immigration, a complete stoppage of all sales of land, and the transfer of the Government of
…to what they call a National
Government responsible to an elected democratic assembly. Those are their three
demands, and quite frankly, those demands cannot possibly be conceded.” Palestine
The British call to partition
in the Peel report in the late 1930’s is firmly rooted in ’s
denial of democracy and military subjugation of Palestinians. Indeed, this is how “best endeavours to
facilitate the achievement” of a Jewish national home as espoused by the
Balfour Declaration finally manifested itself. Britain
It was not mentioned at conference that it was during this uprising that the British taught and trained the Hagana (Zionist paramilitary force) everything it knew about crushing Palestinian resistance to the Balfour Declaration. Maybe it was beyond the remit of this conference to do so.
Having said this, it is indisputable, as Dr. Karmi argued, that there was an amalgam of reasons behind the issue of the declaration. Winston Churchill outlined some of these reasons, which included allusions to anti-semitic discourse. But chief amongst these reasons were the interests of the Empire.
However, it was pointed out that
More so, it needs to be emphasised that to argue the British were “complicit” is a cruel understatement of what actually took hold of