‘Trump administration revived Balfour’s colonialist attitude,’ says Ashrawi

Lord Arthur James Balfour, former Prime Minister of the UK (File)

Middle East Monitor  /  November 4, 2020

A senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s Executive Committee has affirmed that the dangerous and destructive results of the 1917 Balfour Declaration and its disastrous repercussions still cast a dark shadow on Palestine and the Middle East. According to Dr Hanan Ashrawi, the infamous declaration was the foundation of modern settler colonialism in Palestine.

“It uprooted our people and deprived them of their basic rights in a continuous crisis that is ongoing to the present day,” she explained on Monday in a statement marking the 103rd anniversary of the letter sent by British Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur Balfour to Lord Rothschild of the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland. “The Trump administration has revived the Balfour colonial mentality, founded on arrogance, racism, unilateralism and extremism.”

Trump’s policies, said Ashrawi, intersected with what was an illegitimate promise by a colonial power. “They repudiated all foundations and principles of international law and turned against [existing] US policies regarding the Palestinian cause. In this context, the so-called Trump plan for the region appropriated the pillars of the Balfour promise, which are based on injustice and fraud, with the aim of subjugating the Palestinian people and liquidating their just cause.”

The veteran legislator pointed out that all these exclusionary policies that aim to deprive the Palestinian people of their basic right to freedom, independence and self-determination are rejected and will not succeed. This includes the “Trump plan” that gave Israel the green light and the necessary cover to implement its plans at the expense of the lives and rights of the Palestinian people. “Our right to self-determination and independence has never been subject to discussion, negotiation or bargain.”

Ashrawi added that successive British governments have failed to take responsibility for this historical injustice that they inflicted on the Palestinian people. The time has come, she stressed, for Britain to take corrective steps, including official recognition of the State of Palestine, and restore the rights of the people of Palestine which the Balfour Declaration nullified more than a century ago.

“Prejudice, denial and liquidation attempts will fail,” Dr Ashrawi insisted. “Positive change and victory for Palestinian rights will only come through a transparent and honest endeavour that rejects extremism and fundamentalism, recognises the racist structure of Israel and holds it accountable for its crimes. This is the way to correct the disastrous legacy of Balfour and Trump.”

Describing her fellow Palestinians as “steadfast”, the PLO official noted that they have been able to thwart all “racist” ideologies which have tried to erase the people of Palestine from history. “The Palestinians will continue their struggle alongside the world’s free people to embody their legitimate national rights and stand in the face of occupation and liquidation schemes, and we will not accept being an exception to those who enjoy basic rights and freedoms.”