The Palestinian Authority is to sue the British government for the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which it says made London responsible “for all Israeli crimes”.
That was the message Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki gave to Arab leaders this week, as Jewish communities around the world prepare to celebrate 100 years since the UK’s commitment to a Jewish homeland.
The letter to Baron Rothschild from then British Foreign Secretary Lord Balfour gave the green light to the establishment of Israel, but al-Malki said this “gave people who don’t belong there something that wasn’t theirs”.
Al-Maliki’s announcement came in Mauritania on Monday, at the annual meeting of the Arab League, where Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman were absent.
The Palestinian Authority urged Arab countries to “help us bring a suit against the British government over the ominous Balfour Declaration which resulted in the Nakba (catastrophe) for the Palestinian people”.
The Zionist Federation said it was “saddened” by the news, adding: “Once again, Mahmoud Abbas seems to be more interested in denigrating the creation of a Jewish state than supporting the creation of a Palestinian one.”
ZF chairman Paul Charney said: “If [Abbas] really wants to hold someone to account for the lack of a Palestinian state, perhaps he should sue his Arab co-nationalists who rejected the UN Partition Plan that would have created one in 1947.”
It is not clear where the Palestinian Authority’s lawsuit will be filed, but last year, a Palestinian campaign group sued the UK in an Egyptian court, while in 2008, a Palestinian youth group sought to do the same in the UK.