The Balfour Declaration, made by the British government on behalf of the British Zionist Federation, was made on 2nd November 1917. It instantly changed the fate of Palestine and began the Zionists’ process of ethnically cleansing Palestinians from their homeland, which continues until today.
“His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood 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," British Foreign Minister Arthur James Balfour wrote to Lord Rothschild in 1917.
Everything thing that has befallen Palestine: It’s partition, the settlements, random arrests and detentions, the Apartheid Wall, the siege on Gaza, and the millions of Palestinians living in exile and Diaspora was made possible because of the Balfour Declaration. As one former British MP said: “It started in this building, when Arthur Balfour, on behalf of one people, promised a second people the land that belonged to a third people. We are the authors of this tragedy.”
• The creation of a “Jewish State” in such a small country as Palestine with such a small Jewish community, which owned virtually no land to settle on, was practically impossible. Consequently, building an exclusive Jewish State implied bringing Jews from the four corners of the world, acquisition of the land and ethnically cleansing it from its indigenous Arab population.
• Subjecting Palestinian Arabs to ethnic cleansing was an integral part of the implicit and explicit political Zionist thought. Theodore Herzl (Father of political of Zionism) in his diaries made it clear that “the existing landed property was to be gently expropriated, any subsequent resale to the original owners was prohibited, and all immovables had to remain in exclusively Jewish hands.”
• Many waves of pioneer settlers began migrating to Palestine since 1882 sponsored by the Zionist Organisation.
o About 8,000 Jews and about 426,000 Arabs were living in Palestine before 1882.
o In 1903, there were approximately 25,000 Jews in Palestine, and about 500,000 Arabs.
o Between 1922 and 1931, the Jewish population of Palestine more than doubled, from approximately 84,000 to approximately 175,000. During the same period, the Arab population of Palestine grew from approximately 560,000 to approximately 792,000.
o Between 1931 and 1941, the Jewish population of Palestine more than doubled again, from approximately 175,000 to approximately 474,000. During the same period, the Arab population of Palestine grew from approximately 792,000 to approximately 1,045,000.
o The total number of Jews in Palestine in 1946 was 608,225 and the total land owned by them was 1,585,365 donums, which represented less than 7% of the area of Palestine.
• The ethnic cleansing operations perpetrated during the 1948 war and the Absentees Law as well as the Law of Return issued in 1950 facilitated confiscation of Arab homes and lands to build settlements for more colonial settlers who flooded Palestine following the creation of Israel.
• In a report to the Jewish Agency Executive on 12 June 1938, Ben-Gurion stated "With compulsory transfer we [would] have a vast area [for settlement]... I support compulsory transfer. I don't see anything immoral in it."
• In December 1940, Joseph Weitz, director of the Jewish National Fund's Lands Department wrote in his diary: "There is no way besides transferring the Arabs from here to the neighboring countries, and to transfer all of them, save perhaps for [the Arabs of] Bethlehem, Nazareth and Old Jerusalem. Not one village must be left, not one [Bedouin] tribe. And only after this transfer will the country be able to absorb millions of our brothers and the Jewish problem will cease to exist. There is no other solution."
• From 1947 to 1950, between 750,000 and one million Palestinians were expelled by Zionist and then Israeli forces from the newly created Jewish state.
• During Israel's creation, Zionist paramilitaries and the Israeli army carried out numerous massacres and atrocities against Palestinian civilians, including rapes, which were instrumental in spurring the mass flight of Palestinians that facilitated the establishment of a Jewish majority state. According to historians, there were two dozen such massacres, the most notorious massacre took place on April 9, 1948, in the village of Deir Yassin where approximately 100 men, women, and children were murdered.
• To ensure that the newly created state retained a Jewish majority, two laws were passed: the Law of Return (1950), which grants Jews from anywhere in the world the right to immigrate to Israel and become a citizen, and the Entry into Israel Law (1952) which was designed to prevent the return of Palestinian refugees.
• Benjamin Netanyahu told Bar-Ilan University students on 16 November 1989 that the government had failed to exploit internationally favourable situations, to carry out “large-scale” expulsions at a time when “the damage [to Israel’s public relations] would have been relatively small…” Netanyahu was referring to the Tiananmen Square massacre in June 1989 when world attention and the media were focused on China. He added, “I still believe that there are opportunities to expel many people.”
• Until today, Israel is expanding it’s settlement building by confiscating land from Palestinians and driving them out. It is continuing in its cleansing of the Palestinians through its military aggressions, murders and assassinations.
Every year since 1977 the United Nations has observed the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on 29 November. EuroPal Forum invites you to a seminar on “the UN Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People: How to end 70 years of injustice?"