A campaign by Palestinian activists demanding the UK issue a formal apology for supporting the idea of a Jewish state in the Middle East almost a century ago is gaining momentum after the launch of a new parliamentary petition.

Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Jenny Tonge hosted the launch at the House of Lords last Tuesday, where the plight of the Palestinian people was blamed on the legacy of the Balfour Declaration and wider British colonialism in the region.

The activists, backed by the Palestinian diplomatic mission in the UK, intend to push the British government in the run-up to the document’s centennial in November 2017. If the petition – currently pending approval – reaches 100,000 signatures, parliament will have to consider debating the subject.

The Balfour Declaration was a letter from British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Lord Rothschild – head of the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland – that promised support for the idea of a Jewish homeland in historical Palestine as long as the rights of existing non-Jewish communities were not “prejudiced.”

Shortly after the letter was published, the Ottoman Empire was defeated by allied powers in World War I and Britain established mandate rule in the territory of historic Palestine, previously ruled by the Ottomans. …continue reading at Russia Today

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