06 November '16..
This week we enter the centenary year of the Balfour Declaration. This document, signed on November 2, 1917 by the British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour, was the first recognition by one of the world's great powers -- in fact at the time the greatest power in the world -- of the right of the Jewish people to their national homeland in Palestine.
It was the single most significant step taken in restoring Jewish self-determination in their historic territories. Under the San Remo Resolution three years later, the Balfour Declaration was enshrined in international law, leading inexorably to the 1947 UN partition plan and ultimately to the proclamation of the State of Israel by David Ben Gurion on May 14, 1948.
As Britain, Israel and the free world begin to mark this monumental anniversary, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas demands an apology from the UK.
The man whose constitutional tenure as Palestinian leader expired seven years ago, yet remains in place. The man who raised funds for the 1972 massacre in Munich of 11 Israeli Olympic athletes. The man who misused millions of dollars of international aid intended for the welfare of his people. The man who dismissed as a "fantastic lie" the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust.
This man demands an apology. Of course he does. And in demanding that Britain apologise for a 99-year-old statement supporting a national home for the Jewish people, he exposes his true position, and the true position of all factions of the Palestinian leadership: that the Jewish people have no right to a national home; the Jewish State has no right to exist. According to Abbas, Palestine, from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea, belongs to the Arabs and only to the Arabs.
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Colonel Richard Kemp was Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan. He served in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the Balkans and Northern Ireland and was head of the international terrorism team for the UK Joint Intelligence Committee.
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