British Prime Minister Theresa May says she is “proud of the role” the UK initially played in establishing the Israeli regime.
“We are proud of the role that we played in the creation of the State of Israel, and we will certainly mark the centenary with pride,” May told the House of Commons during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.
According to the prime minister, London should also be mindful about the “sensitivities” in regard to Balfour Declaration, a public statement issued by the UK government during World War I, announcing support for establishment of the regime.
“We also must be conscious of the sensitivities that some people do have about the Balfour Declaration. We recognize that there is more work to be done,” said the British premier.
She further reiterated Britain’s support for the so-called two-state solution, an initiative dismissed by the US under President Donald Trump.
“That is an important aim,” she claimed. “I think it important that we all recommit to ensuring that we can provide security, stability and justice for both Israelis and Palestinians through such a lasting peace.”
The declaration, signed by Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour, is considered a prelude to the Israeli occupation of Palestinians’ homeland in 1948.
“It is one of the most important letters in history,” she said in December. “It demonstrates Britain’s vital role in creating a homeland for the Jewish people. And it is an anniversary we will be marking with pride.”
Palestinians believe that the UK government should apologize for issuing the document, which gave the future Israelis the green light for occupation.
According to the declaration, “His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”
May made the comments as the regime continued its expansionist policies by construction of settlements in Palestine while committing atrocities against the Muslim nation.
While she said she would “certainly” mark centenary “with pride,” Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has refused to take part in the event.
“It’s highly appropriate that Jeremy Corbyn has refused the invite and shameful that any British politician would consider participating in an event that celebrates the declaration,” Ben Jamal, the director of the UK-based Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (PSC), told Al Jazeera, describing the Balfour statement as an “act of imperialism by which Britain disregarded the rights, wishes, and claims of the Palestinian people who made up nearly 90 percent of the population of Palestine in 1917.”
“For Palestinians, Balfour was an action of betrayal and its anniversary should prompt somber reflection on a shameful episode in British history,” said Jamal. “To celebrate is to reinforce the message to Palestinians that their rights are still regarded as second class.”