Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas tells the international community that Britain should apologize for the 1917 Jewish homeland declaration. Rough Cut - subtitled (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT - SUBTITLED (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Britain should apologize for its 1917 declaration endorsing the founding of a Jewish homeland in Palestine and should recognize Palestine as a state, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday (September 22). Speaking at the U.N. General Assembly, Abbas said that the Palestinian people had suffered greatly because of the 1917 Balfour Declaration in which Britain said it favored the establishment of a home for the Jewish people in Palestine but that this should not undermine the rights of others living there. "We ask Great Britain, as we approach 100 years since this infamous declaration, to draw the necessary lessons and to bear its historic, legal, political, material and moral responsibility for the consequences of this declaration, including an apology to the Palestinian people for the catastrophes, misery and injustice this declaration created and to act to rectify these disasters and remedy its consequences, including by the recognition of the state of Palestine," Abbas said. "This is the least Great Britain can do." The declaration, named for the British foreign secretary at the time, offered a more nuanced message than Abbas described. Israeli-Palestinian peace talks last collapsed in 2014 and there are few hopes for a resumption anytime soon in part because of Israeli anger at Palestinian violence and Palestinian criticism of Israel's construction of settlements on occupied land where Palestinians want to establish a state. He also called on the international community to declare 2017 as the year to end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, and called on Israel to participate on a peace conference before the end of the year. "If there will be no international peace conference and no direct negotiations between us and the Israelis, then how can peace be made? No peace conference, and no negotiations, how can we speak about peace, how can we make peace?" Abbas said.