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July 31, 2016 7:13 am

Former British Foreign Secretary Ridicules Palestinian Plan to Sue UK Over Balfour Declaration as Publicity Stunt

avatar by Lea Speyer

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Former UK foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind said the Palestinian Authority's plan to sue the UK for the Balfour Declaration is a publicity stunt with no legal bearing. Photo: Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Former UK foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind said the Palestinian Authority’s plan to sue the UK for the Balfour Declaration is a publicity stunt with no legal bearing. Photo: Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

A former British foreign secretary ridiculed the recent Palestinian initiative to sue the United Kingdom over the Balfour Declaration as a publicity stunt, Jewish News reported on Thursday.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind was responding to the recent announcement of plans by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to sue the UK for the 1917 document stating that the British government would “view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” According to Abbas, the Balfour Declaration is the direct cause of the “Palestinian Nakba,” the “disaster” of Israel’s founding.

“We are working to open up an international criminal case for the crime which they committed against our nation — from the days of the British Mandate all the way to the massacre which was carried out against us from 1948 onwards,” said Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki on behalf of Abbas.

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Rifkind said, “This is a purely political initiative. It will have no legal force but might generate some publicity. No more, no less.”

Of Abbas’ initiative, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that it highlights how “after nearly 4,000 years…there are people who still deny our strong connection to our land. The Palestinian Authority do not object to the Jewish state, they object to the national home that preceded the Jewish state…clarifying that the root of the conflict is a refusal to recognize a Jewish state in any borders.” 

Zionist Federation chairman Paul Charney said in a statement that if Abbas wants to blame someone for a non-existent Palestinian state, “perhaps he should sue his Arab co-nationalists who rejected the UN Partition Plan that would have created one in 1947.”

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, mocked the PA president on Twitter, as reported by The Algemeiner, saying maybe Abbas should also consider suing Egypt for the Jewish Exodus, France for Napoleon’s Proclamation to the Jews and Iran for the Cyrus Declaration.

Each of the three example cited by the Israeli ambassador are regarded as significant moments in the Jewish nation’s quest for rights, sovereignty and possession of the land of Israel.

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  • David Blacher

    What about the McMahon–Hussein Correspondence of 1915 which indicated Britain’s favoring the creation of a Palestinian state? Wouldn’t the deligitimizing of one deligitimize both. “Those who don’t read history are doomed to repeat it” – George Santayana.

  • Steve

    Abbas can’t sue over the Balfour Declaration because the statute of limitations has passed.

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