[News] Palestine - Balfour Declaration: 99 years of colonialism, 99 years of resistance

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Nov 3 10:27:01 EDT 2016


  Balfour Declaration: 99 years of colonialism, 99 years of resistance

November 3, 2016

On the 99th anniversary of the British empire’s infamous colonial 
Balfour Declaration ostensibly proclaiming the right to a “Jewish 
national home” in colonized Palestine, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner 
Solidarity Network joins in with grassroots Palestinian campaigns and 
the Palestinian liberation movement inside and outside Palestine to 
demand justice and accountability from the British state and its 
international allies as we approach a century of Palestinian resistance, 
struggle and revolution.

The Balfour Declaration, British Foreign Secretary and former Prime 
Minister Lord Alfred Balfour’s letter directed to Lord Walter 
Rothschild, a prominent Zionist leader in Britain in 1917, pledged to 
support a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine – which at 
the time remained part of the Ottoman Empire. The Balfour Declaration 
was part and parcel of the imperial and colonial plans in the region. It 
came nearly simultaneously with the Sykes-Picot accords laying out the 
colonial division of the Arab world for the benefit of Britain and 
France. Support for the Zionist project fit firmly into this category. 
Theodor Herzl himself appealed to Cecil Rhodes for support for the 
Zionist project in Palestine as “something colonial 
while Chaim Weizmann pledged to “form a very effective guard 
<http://clkates.ipower.com/njs/resources/roots/chapter03.html> for the 
Suez Canal.” And far from an advocate of the rights of Jews facing 
oppression and hatred in Europe, Balfour as Prime Minister in 1905 
passed the Aliens Act 
specifically intended to exclude Eastern European Jews from Britain.

The Zionist project proudly asserted its own status as part of the 
European colonialist project in the region, and colonial powers 
responded in kind, not with some form of support or protection for 
European Jews, but with a deeply racist colonial partnership. In 1919, 
Balfour wrote, “Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in 
age-long traditions, in present needs, in future hopes, of far 
profounder import <http://www.balfourproject.org/a-few-quotes/> than the 
desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient 

Thus, the rights and existence of the indigenous people of the land, the 
Palestinian Arab people of all religious backgrounds, including 
Christians, Muslims and Jews, were dismissed and erased as expendable, 
in a chilling re-statement of the settler colonial logics seen in the 
United States, Canada and Australia.

Today, the Israeli state remains a colonial project in Palestine and the 
region and a key partner, defender and strategic partner of U.S. 
imperialism and its European colonial allies. And the Balfour 
Declaration has remained for 99 years an infamous, purely colonial 
justification of the theft of indigenous land and resources and the 
expulsion of millions of indigenous people. Palestinians today 
throughout historic Palestine continue to suffer through racism, 
apartheid, settler colonialism, occupation and oppression as a direct 
and unbroken line from the Balfour Declaration to Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Balfour Declaration also marked another milestone, however: the 
birth of the modern Palestinian resistance movement.For 99 years 
Palestinians have been organizing, struggling and rising up, 
relentlessly, to throw off colonial oppressors and build a revolutionary 
movement for liberation and return. The Palestinian resistance, rising 
up again and again, in 1922, 1929, 1936, 1948 and on and on until today, 
has inspired and built deep bonds with its fellow anti-colonial and 
liberation movements around the world, an example of resistance and 
revolutionary struggle continuing in the face of the most powerful 
imperial forces aligned against their struggle.

At the same time, Zionist forces were empowered and actively supported 
by British colonial power, especially as a mechanism to suppress 
Palestinian resistance, including arming and training the Zionist 
militias and Israeli forces who expelled nearly a million Palestinians 
from their homes and lands in the Nakba of 1948.

Throughout the history of 100 years of Palestinian struggle, political 
imprisonment has been a tool of colonial control directed against the 
Palestinian people. From administrative detention to land confiscation, 
identity stripping to home demolitions, the tools of terror and military 
rule used by today’s Zionist state were introduced to Palestine by 
British colonial authorities as a means of suppressing indigenous revolt 
for liberation.

Over a million Palestinians have been imprisoned in colonial prisons 
since Balfour’s letter in 1917. Many of the traditions of Palestinian 
prisoners’ struggle and the famous cultural legacy of the poetry of 
resistance born in the prisons date from the day of the British colonial 
mandate. The British execution of Fouad Hejazi, Mohammed Jamjoum and 
Atta al-Zeir in 1930 in Akka prison inspired a famous song of 
Palestinian resistance 
is still sung today.

In 1938, during the great Palestinian uprising of 1936-1939, as Ghassan 
Kanafani noted, “Britain sentenced about 2,000 Palestinian Arabs to long 
terms of imprisonment, demolished more than 5,000 houses and executed by 
hanging 148 persons in Acre prison, and there were more than 5,000 in 
prison for varying terms 

Today, over seven million Palestinians are actively expelled and denied 
their right to return to their homes and lands. Palestinians are subject 
to racism and oppression throughout the land of Palestine; to siege, 
occupation, apartheid, land confiscations, home demolitions, mass 
imprisonment, killing and massacre: an entire range of Zionist settler 
colonial crimes against the entire Palestinian people, inside and 
outside Palestine. And Britain not only continues to evade its 
fundamental responsibility for the colonization of Palestine. It 
continues its active complicity and support for the ongoing Nakba and 
Zionist colonial project. British officials and politicians threaten to 
prohibit the use of “Zionism 
as a negative term and attempt to suppress the growing popular movement 
for boycott, divestment and sanctions in support of the Palestinian 
people, while acting in the United Nations and other international 
arenas to actively defend the Israeli state against accountability for 
its continuous crimes.

*Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network joins in the demand 
for accountability, recognition, apology and reparations 
for the Palestinian people for thedamages caused by the Balfour 
<http://www.bdcc2017.com/> Declaration over nearly 100 years of 
struggle, as well as an end to Britain’s ongoing and active complicity 
and support for the Zionist colonization of Palestine and the Nakba of 
the Palestinian people. An apology is not sufficient to address the 
ongoing colonial crime. Every Palestinian denied the right to return 
home, imprisoned in occupation prisons, stripped of their 
self-determination and sovereignty is a victim of the Balfour Declaration. *

*As we mark nearly 100 years of Palestinian liberation struggle, we 
pledge to intensify our struggle, activity and organizing in support of 
Palestinian prisoners and the Palestinian people’s struggle for the 
total liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea.*

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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