There's been a lot of talk recently about the Balfour Declaration since November 2 was the centenary of that document. This date was when Israel obtained land in Palestianian territory. The outcome depends on whether you are an Israeli or a Palestianian. Here 's what was written in the Arab Digest.
Summary: debate in Parliament produces nothing new. Among many comments on the centenary a new Balfour Centenary Declaration supported by MPs from all parties and many others.
As expected (our posting of 20 October) the approach to the centenary of the Balfour declaration, today 2 November 2017, has produced much comment. The British and Israeli prime ministers are expected to speak at a commemoration banquet tonight. The Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson made a statement in Parliament on 30 October which was followed by a brief debate. Emily Thornberry, Shadow Foreign Secretary, argued that “With the empty vessel that is the American President making lots of noise but being utterly directionless, the need for Britain to show leadership on this issue [Palestine] is ever more pressing”. Johnson stuck to the well worn position of using the USA as a human shield: “the US Administration have shown their commitment to breaking the deadlock, and a new American envoy, Jason Greenblatt, has made repeated visits to the region. The Government will of course support these efforts in whatever way we can… we need them to be in the lead… we see the most fertile prospects now in the new push coming from America… ”
All parties represented in Parliament are now committed to recognition of Palestine as a state except the governing Conservative party (and presumably their coalition partner the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party), whose intention is clearly to wait for America.
On 31 October a Balfour Centenary Declaration, see below, was launched in Parliament by Richard Burden MP (Labour), Lord Cope of Berkeley (Conservative), Dr Philippa Whitford MP (Scottish National party), and Rt Hon Tom Brake MP (Lib Dem), signed by over 60 distinguished people including members of Parliament from the four main parties. We are grateful to Vincent Fean, former British ambassador and former consul-general in Jerusalem, for the text from which he spoke to an audience of over 1000 at Westminster Central Hall.