by Salman Abu Sitta*
We, citizens of the world,
celebrating the human pursuit of freedom and independence,
adhering fully to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
rejecting the ideology and practice of colonization under any name at any time,
declaring the colonization document known as the Balfour Declaration
as null and void in word, intent, and practice.
And cognizant of the fact that Great Britain,
had not respected its pledges to the Arabs of Palestine for independence,
had not respected the League of Nations' undertaking under Article 22 of its charter to act according to the 'sacred trust of civilization' regarding the people of Palestine,
had undermined the inherent rights of the majority Arab population of Palestine by allowing an influx of foreigners into the country against the demand of its people,
had promulgated laws, particularly in the period 1920 to 1925, including the period when it had no jurisdiction under the mandate, which alienated the land of Palestine, changed its demography and created the roots of a foreign independent entity, including a separate military force,
had enacted new laws without the authorization of the League of Nations as required,
had denied consistently the just and legitimate demand of the Palestinian majority for democratic representation,
had failed to bring progress, prosperity, and development as required, to Arab Palestinians in all spheres of life while never failing to collect taxes from them,
had, particularly in the period from 1936 to 1939, decimated Palestinian society under its administration by killing, wounding, imprisoning tens of thousands, imposing collective punishment, destroying villages, dissolving political parties, and imprisoning and deporting political leaders,
had been derelict in its duty under the Mandate to preserve the territorial integrity of Palestine by putting the country under such conditions that allowed its partition in 1947 against the express demand of the majority of the population and the imperative text of the Mandate,
had been derelict in its duty to safeguard the holy places and maintaining the status quo 'in perpetuity',
had failed, willfully and/or by gross negligence, to defend the Arab Palestinians from dozens of massacres committed by the Zionists under its own eyes before the end of the Mandate,
had failed to prevent, and sometimes aided, the Zionist conquest of Arab lands in the coastal plain, Marj ibn Amer, and Houla Plain, while under the protection of the Mandate administration,
had failed to prevent the war crime of ethnic cleansing, which led to the dispossession of half the total of Palestinian refugees and the cleansing of of 220 Palestinian towns and villages in areas under its control before the end of the Mandate,
had actually aided and abetted the ethnic cleansing, particularly in Tiberius and Haifa between April 14 and April 21, 1948, and by allowing its armament and military installations to fall into the hands of Zionist forces,
had consistently refused, as military logs show, to come to the rescue of Arab Palestinians when in distress, but rescued Jewish convoys carrying arms and munitions in the Arab-held territory,
had been derelict in its duties, as required, to hand over the government of Palestine's offices and documents, and its public amenities and services to the Palestinians before its departure.
We call on the British Government, to apologize to the Palestinian people for its suffering during a century of death and destruction with no end in sight, due to its willfully or carelessly failing to undertake its duties and obligations,
to pay full compensation for all direct and consequential losses and damages to the Palestinian people,
to comply with the rules and directives set out in the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice of July 9, 2004, regarding the Wall,
to make amends by assisting, as required for the purpose, in the establishment of a free, democratic Palestine, by means such as:
- correcting its policies within the United Kingdom and in the international arena such that the inalienable rights of the Palestinians are fully realized,
- helping, as a primary actor, in the rebuilding of Palestine and the repatriation of its people,
- reflecting Palestinian history and the suffering of the Palestinian people in its school curriculum and in the media,
- and by any other means found necessary to achieve the aim of a free and independent Palestine.
On all of the above, we pledge our unfettered support, call on the United Kingdom to rectify its grave historical deeds, and call upon all people of conscience in the world to stand by the terms of this manifesto.
[*Palestinian historian and creator of the seminal website Palestine Remembered.]
Related: See my 17/1/13 post, Britain, It's Time to Apologize - simply click on the 'Balfour Declaration' label below.