101st anniversary of Balfour Declaration

Join Palestinians in demanding the implementation of the right of return! End the Zionist occupation of Palestinian lands!

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Mississauga picket on 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, November 2017.

November 2 marked the 101st anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, a 1917 letter sent by the British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to a prominent British Zionist leader promising land in Palestine for foreign settlement.

This criminal act of the British Empire to “give” the land of another people usurped during the First World War for colonial settlement created the conditions for countless atrocities against the Palestinians, as well as the subsequent proclamation of a Zionist state and the ongoing genocide and seizure of Palestinian land.

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In considering the crime the British committed, it is important to keep in mind the aims of the British Empire at the time and its geopolitical strategy. British Prime Minister Lloyd George and his Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill informed the head of the Zionist Federation, Chaim Weizmann, in 1921 “that by the Declaration they had always meant an eventual state.” To ensure the Zionist minority had the upper hand on behalf of British interests, Lloyd George told Churchill: “You mustn’t give representative government to Palestine.” Researcher Nu’man Abd al-Wahid noted:

“The newly European Jewish settlers were to be the Praetorian Guard of Egypt and specifically of the Suez Canal. As such, in the words of Winston Churchill, European Jews would then ‘be especially in harmony with the truest interests of the British Empire’ rather than ‘unassimilated sojourners in every land.’”[1]

It is important to keep in mind the role played by successive Canadian governments in empire-building, the Zionist Project and its wanton aggression and pre-emptive wars. In World War I, the Borden government at the request of Lloyd George facilitated the recruitment in Ontario by David Ben-Gurion for the “Jewish Legion,” which marched into Jerusalem with General Lord Edmund Allenby’s British Egyptian Expeditionary Force just five weeks later on December 9, 1917. Allenby is said to have taken a stroll in the old walled city and declared, “Today the Crusades have come to an end.”

In 1947-48 the participation of Lester Pearson in the legalization of the occupation of Historic Palestine at the United Nations earned him the ignominious title of “the Canadian Balfour.” His role during the 1956 Tripartite invasion of Egypt and the occupation of the Suez Canal earned him a prize for “peacekeeping.”

Further, on May 18, 1948, the Canadian cabinet decided that the question of applying the Foreign Enlistment Act to Palestine should be deferred so as to facilitate the military recruitment of Canadian nationals in the Haganah to suppress the Palestinians.[2]

The Trudeau government is now criminalizing opposition at home and abroad to Zionism and Israeli state terrorism as “anti-semitism,” all the while hypocritically speaking against Islamophobia and for tolerance. Canadians reject and despise such “friendship” with Zionist Israel with the contempt it deserves. We join with the peoples of the world in demanding an end to the occupation, recognition of the right of return and redress including reparations.

BalfourGraphic-NesoOn the 101th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration which the state of Israel claims as “independence day,” the Canadian Foreign Minister was in Israel making speeches which shield Israel and its settler colonial apparatus, apartheid and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, while granting it legitimacy. This helps those who allow Israel to act with impunity and encourages it to continue to deny the Palestinian people their fundamental rights of self-determination and return to their Indigenous homes from which they, or their ancestors, were uprooted in 1948.

The catastrophe of the Arab Palestinian people in 1948 continues at the hands of Israel, aided by the United States, using the same old policies and laws established by the British such as land confiscation laws, home demolitions, ‘administrative’ detention, deportations, violent repression, and the continuation of the expulsion of about 7.9 million Palestinians who are denied their basic national and human rights, especially their right to return and live normally in their homeland. This catastrophe of the Palestinian people could not continue without the support of Israel by the United States, Britain and countries like Canada.

The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) condemns the infamous act known as the Balfour Declaration and the ongoing crimes against the Palestinian people. November 29 is International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. On this occasion, TML Weekly is publishing information about the Campaign “No to Settlement, We Will Not Give up the Right of Return” by the Popular Conference for Palestinians Abroad.

Notes

1. Nu’man Abd al-Wahi, “The Empire’s Balfour Declaration and the Suez Canal,” Churchill’s Karma, December 20, 2012.

2. The Haganah was a Jewish paramilitary organization that existed from 1920 to 1948 in the British Mandate of Palestine. It would go on to become the core of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). It was said to be founded on the basis of self-defence, because the British could not be relied on to ensure the security of the Jewish population. In practice, it was part of the Zionist apparatus in Palestine, cooperating with the British when it served Zionist aims. While it began as an underground organization, it expanded to encompass nearly all the youth and adults in the settlements, as well as several thousand members from each of the cities.

During 1936-1939, while Palestinians rose up to reject the British Mandate, the Haganah developed from a militia into a military body. The British administration did not officially recognize the organization, but in practice the British Security Forces cooperated with it by establishing civilian militia as part of putting down the Arab Revolt.

The Haganah functioned not only in Palestine, it had branches in other parts of the world, including the United States, Poland, Germany, Italy, France, and Morocco. It carried out arms deals to bring in weapons from the United States, Western Europe, and Czechoslovakia, and carried out its own arms production.

In the spring of 1947, future Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion began to direct the general policy of the Haganah. Following the Nakbah, in which Zionist Israel was founded by the dispossession of the Palestinian people, on May 26, 1948, the Provisional Government of Israel decided to transform the Haganah into the regular army of the State, to be called “Zeva Haganah Le-Yisrael” – the Israel Defense Forces.

(Photos: TML, Popular Conference for Palestinians Abroad)



“No to Settlement, We Will Not Give Up the Right of Return”

– Popular Conference for Palestinians Abroad –

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Palestinians head towards eastern border of Gaza strip to participate in weekly Great Return March protests under the slogan “Normalization with Israel is a crime and betrayal.”

Before the cemeteries of the martyrs of our Palestinian people in Sabra and Shatila, and in memory of the painful massacre in the camps of steadfastness in Beirut, the brotherly capital of Lebanon, the members of the Popular Conference for Palestinians Abroad salute the souls of our martyrs, and appreciate the steadfastness of our people in the camps at home and abroad who have contributed to the survival of the cause for seven decades, with their sacrifice and patience for the hardships of life, and their model of heroism and redemption.

PopularConfPalestiniansAbroadThe Palestinian people stand again before a renewed U.S. attack and support for the Zionist project, which has been issued by the new U.S. administration in the person of President Donald Trump through several decisions and actions, beginning with the decision of December 6 of last year to recognize Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the Zionist entity. This was followed by the actual transfer of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and then the targeting of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which has contributed to the survival of the issue of refugees, keeping it alive through the preservation of refugee status, and the legacy of new generations and delivery of humanitarian services. The occupation followed these procedures by passing the law of the nation-state through the Knesset, and the policy of settlement and land appropriation. In view of all this, the Popular Conference of Palestinians Abroad, as part of the general Palestinian movement and of what it expresses of the will and aspirations of the Palestinian people abroad, announces the adoption of a series of steps and actions that reflect the rejection of these projects as having no meaning to the Palestinian people, as they are not based on any legal principle, and therefore are based on the one who issued them.

– Call upon the Palestinian people in all places to carry out peaceful and legal activities to express their rejection of U.S. actions on the right of return and the transfer of the Embassy of Washington to Jerusalem and that it be considered the capital of the Zionist entity only.

– Support the large-scale return marches in the Gaza Strip by holding sit-ins and weekly activities to ensure that our right to return is upheld.

– Call upon Palestinian people abroad to launch mass popular rallies to express adherence to the right of return and reject the U.S. steps to undermine it.

– Call upon Palestinian families to carry out activities in parallel that reflect their belonging to Palestine and their inheritance of the right of return and rejection of resettlement, and convey this through media and social media.

– The commemoration of several important national and international events on the Palestinian calendar – the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on November 29, and three consecutive events over four days in December, the 69th anniversary of UNRWA’s founding December 8, followed by the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the adoption of UN General Assembly Resolution 194 on December 10 and 11, which provides for the return of refugees to their homes and cities from which they were displaced in 1948. The Popular Conference for Palestinians Abroad will hold a public popular conference followed by an international political conference in support of Palestinian rights.

– The Popular Conference calls upon all Palestinian forces and factions to consolidate and accelerate the building of a comprehensive national unity to confront the occupation and settlement and stand up to the U.S. project.

– The Popular Conference calls upon the Arab countries, especially the host of the Palestinians, to take note of the seriousness of the project.

– The Conference calls for the formation of a global coalition to defend the right of return and all the international instruments and institutions that preserve it.

– The 2019 People’s Congress announces the preservation of the UN Relief and Works Agency and the strengthening of its presence.

– The Popular Conference calls upon our people in the camps to make the camp a symbol of adherence to the right of return and to reject the U.S. project and conduct symbolic marches towards the border and express adherence to the right of return.

– The Conference supports all projects emanating from the inside, foremost of which is the major march of return in the Gaza Strip to uphold the rights and to carry out supporting activities.

These steps are based on the principle that the right of return is a collective and individual right not subject to statute of limitations. This right is inherited and irrevocable, and is consistent with the Palestinian people abroad, which since their expulsion in 1948 have declared their absolute adherence to all their established rights in historic Palestine and not to abandon those rights. Striving in all places where it is within the available means to restore those rights and stand firm in the face of all conspiracies that try to undermine them and trample them, and emphasize the liberation of Palestine, all of Palestine.

(Edited slightly for style and clarity by TML)

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