The Balfour Declaration was a statement of support by the British government for the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. It was exceedingly brief, consisting of a mere 67 words. But its consequences have been catastrophic for the Palestinian people. As Israeli historian Avi Shlaim observed, “Its impact on the subsequent history of the Middle East was nothing less than revolutionary”.

Issued on 2 November 1917, after being approved by the British war cabinet, the letter, signed by foreign secretary Arthur Balfour, stated:

“His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

The Zionist movement gained – for the first time – the imperial backing it had long sought to carry out its settler-colonial project.

Read the full article by Kim Bullimore at Red Flag.

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