Palestine’s President on Balfour Centenary

President Mahmoud Abbas writing in the Guardian, “. . . At his desk in London, on 2 November 1917, Balfour signed a letter promising the land of Palestine to the Zionist Federation, a recently established political movement whose goal was the creation of a Jewish state. He promised a land that was not his to promise, disregarding the political rights of those who already lived there. For the Palestinian people – my people – the events this letter triggered have been as devastating as they have been far-reaching.

This British policy, to support Jewish immigration into Palestine while negating the Arab-Palestinian right to self-determination, created severe tensions between European Jewish immigrants and the native Palestinian population. Palestine (the last item on the decolonisation agenda) and we, its people, who sought our inalienable right to self-determination, instead suffered our greatest catastrophe – in Arabic the Nakba.

In 1948 Zionist militias forcibly expelled more than 800,000 men, women and children from their homeland, perpetrating horrific massacres and destroying hundreds of villages in the process. I was 13 years old at the time of our expulsion from Safad. The occasion on which Israel celebrates its creation as a state, we Palestinians mark as the darkest day in our history . . . ” click here.