United Kingdom refuses to apologize for signing Balfour Declaration

A petition calls on the United Kingdom to apologize for its role in establishing a Jewish state. 

The United Kingdom refused to apologize for Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour’s signing of the Balfour Declaration, that recognized the legitimacy of establishing “a national home for the Jewish people” in the British mandate of Palestine.

“The Balfour Declaration is an historic statement for which HMG (her Majesty’s Government) does not intend to apologize,” the UK Foreign Office stated in response to a petition by the Palestinian Return Centre urging an official apology from the UK. “We are proud of our role in creating the State of Israel.”

The Balfour Declaration, which declared “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” on November 2, 1917, officially became part of international law when the League of Nations adopted it in 1922.

“Establishing a homeland for the Jewish people in the land to which they had such strong historical and religious ties was the right and moral thing to do, particularly against the background of centuries of persecution,” the statement added.

The Palestinian Authority’s UK diplomatic representative, Manuel Hassassian informed Voice of Palestine Radio earlier on Tuesday that the UK would not apologize.

“The answer came in a written letter to the (Palestinian) Foreign Ministry that the apology is refused,” he said. “It means the Queen and the government of Britain will not apologize to the Palestinian people and the celebration marking 100 years since the Balfour promise will be held on time.”

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Israeli President Reuven Rivlin extended an invitation to UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson for the UK’s Royal Family to visit Israel this year in commemoration of the Balfour Declaration’s upcoming 100th anniversary.

By: Jonathan Benedek, World Israel News