Balfour Declaration centenary sparks protests in front of British embassy

(MENAFN- Jordan Times) AMMAN — The National Jordanian Committee for the 100th Anniversary of the Balfour Declaration on Thursday staged a protest in front of the British embassy, calling for the compensation of the Palestinian people after the consequences of the century-old declaration.

On November 2, 1917, British foreign secretary Arthur James Balfour wrote a letter to Britain's Jewish citizen Baron Lionel Walter Rothschild, expressing the government's support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

The letter came to be known as the Balfour Declaration.

The sit-in came on the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, marking the conclusion of a year-long campaign started on November 2, 2016.

Several seminars have been held over the past year to raise awareness on the issue, and activists have collected thousands of signatures against the declaration to be presented to the UK House of Commons and the British government.

'It is a shame for the British government to be celebrating the centenary of this declaration,' representative of the National Jordanian Committee Saad Alaween told The Jordan Times, noting that similar protest are being held in several capital cities across the Arab region to 'remind people that Palestine should be, and will be, for the Palestinians'.

'A foreign land decided to give our territory to people who do not own it, Palestine was always our land, and we will never stop until it is recognised that it belongs to our people,' Alaween continued.

Abla Abu Elbe, first secretary of the Jordanian Democratic People's Party, was also present at the protest, where she denounced the fact that 'the Balfour Declaration was an agreement to colonise a land, and that is why the whole Arab region is standing against it'.

'British Prime Minister Theresa May insisted on celebrating the anniversary of this declaration and she even invited the Israeli prime minister. With this action, she showed her complete disregard for the suffering of the people of Palestine,' she continued, adding that 'we are in the 21st century, and we should not still be fighting for liberation'.

Amman Third District Deputy Khalid Ramadan addressed the British Prime Minister as well, stating that 'with this celebration, she is demonstrating that she is proud of forcing people out of their homes,' criticising May's denomination of Israel as a 'civil' land by noting that 'civil people respect human rights'.

MP Qais Zayadin (Amman, 3rd District) added that 'the Balfour Declaration is a setback for the whole humanity, and standing here in the British embassy, we want to ask Theresa May and every country who contributed on installing this cancer on the Middle East for an apology'.

'We want to thank Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn for his support of the cause, and all the British people who understand the cruelty of this declaration and stand with us,' Zayadin added.

Several Palestinians residing in Jordan were also present at the protest, where they expressed their disapproval the declaration.

Protester Khalil Abu Ghoush expressed that 'we are still suffering after 100 years, because this letter [the Balfour Declaration] led to the establishment of a new country in our land without any right, leaving all Palestinians without a home'.

Lubna Makhamreh, another Palestinian protester, petitioned the government to take further action.

'As a Palestinian, I condemn all the suffering that this declaration caused and I appreciate the governmental representation in the protest, but this is not enough,' she told The Jordan Times, concluding that 'our government still maintains ties with Israel, and if they really stand with Palestine, I would like to see them taking real actions in our defence'.


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