How Balfour Explains Why the Peace Process Failed

( Jonathan S. Tobin - Last year Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced he was suing Great Britain over the Balfour Declaration, issued on Nov. 2, 1917. The symbolism of his protest tells us more about what is preventing peace between Israel and the Palestinians than any of the usual explanations about settlements, borders, or Jerusalem. Palestinian Arabs are still unreconciled to "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people," as British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour stated. "The problem Palestinian Arabs have with Israel is its existence - not 'settlements,' 'occupied' territory or the security barrier," writes Elliot Jager in The Balfour Declaration: 67 Words, 100 Years of Conflict. After Balfour, subsequent British governments not only whittled down the size of the Jewish home, but also betrayed their promise by limiting the rights of the Jews in order to appease the Arab and Muslim world. That led to a series of proposals for further dividing the land, but the Arabs refused every such offer, including the UN partition plan of 1947. Sharing even part of the country was unthinkable. Until the Palestinians understand why the Jews also have a right to be there, they will remain doomed to live in a limbo in which they can neither reverse the verdict of history nor find a way to live in peace alongside those who benefited from Balfour's promise.

2017-11-01 00:00:00

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