EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Rather than entrench itself in its century-long rejection of the “other” at the certain cost of prolonging its people’s suffering, the Palestinian leadership should accept the legitimacy of Jewish statehood. This was, in fact, acknowledged 100 years ago by the international community, including the world’s foremost Muslim power, the head of the pan-Arab movement, and most Palestinian Arabs.
“The Balfour Declaration promised Palestine – over which Britain had no legal right – to a people who had no claim whatsoever to the country, nor did even live there.”
So goes the standard Palestinian indictment of the British government’s pledge to facilitate “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” provided that “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.”
It’s an emotionally gripping claim, but is also the inverse of the truth in at least three key respects. Britain had the right to make the declaration; the Jewish people had a claim to Palestine deriving from a millenarian attachment to the land; and no other nation that could stake a similar claim existed at the time.
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