Photo Credit: Wikimedia / Public Domain
A portrait of Lord Balfour and his Declaration

The Palestinian Authority wishes to sue Britain because of the Balfour Declaration. In order to understand this we need to clarify a few points:

1] The British government decided to endorse the establishment of a Jewish home in the Holy Land, known to Europeans as Palestine (a name invented by the Ancient Greeks). The decision was made public in a letter from then British Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur James written on November 2, 1917. The contents of this letter became known as the Balfour Declaration. The main paragraph reads:
“His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors 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.”


It is important to note that in this letter there are three types of rights or status mentioned: a) civil, b) religious and c) political. The letter reflects reality in the Holy Land then, where non-Jewish communities (Arabs, Druze, Circassians, etc.) had civil rights and religious rights – as much as anyone had rights under Ottoman rule. There were no political rights; there was no country or district of Palestine and certainly no state of Palestine.

2] This declaration was then agreed upon by the League of Nations, the predecessor to the United Nations. The League resolution of July 24, 1922 says:
“Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have also agreed that the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2nd, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people…
Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country”.

About three fourths of the land originally earmarked for the Jewish National Home were later given over to a client who served British imperialist interests, Abdullah, who became king of Trans-Jordan, an area closed to Jews.

3] Until the Oslo Accords – there was never any independent self-rule by the local Arabs in Judea and Samaria. The Palestinian Authority – created by Israel and the PLO in the Oslo Accords – is the first Arabic “Palestinian” entity in history.

Wishing to sue Britain shows that the conflict is not over Judea and Samaria (a.k.a. West Bank); it is a denial of Jewish rights in any part of the Jewish homeland.

But why sue just Britain?Why not sue all the nations that were part of the League of Nations, and for that matter all the nations that were part of the United Nations that affirmed the mandate after WW II.

But why go back just 100 years? Why not sue the Romans, who had the nerve to mint coins reading Judea Capta (, not mentioning the Palestinians, but just the Jews and the Land of the Jews?

Of course they have to sue the Christians for the New Testament saying that the Holy Land is the Land of the Jews: “born in Bethlehem of Judaea” (Matthew 2, 1); “the land of Judaea” (Mark 1, 5); “in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea” (Luke 1, 5); “the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem” (John 1, 19); “in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria” (Acts 1, 8), etc. All Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem – no Palestine.

And if they’re suing the Christians – they gotta sue the Muslims! After all the Quran says: “And thereafter We [Allah] said to the Children of Israel: ‘Dwell securely in the Promised Land. And when the last warning will come to pass, We [Allah] will gather you together in a mingled crowd'” (Qur’an, Sura al-Isra [The Night Journey] – Bani Isra’il [Children of Israel], 17:104, Palazzi translation). Not only is the land promised to the Jews – God promised that He would gather the Jews back tot heir land after a long exile – just as has happened in the last 200 years!

So if you’re gonna sue – sue the universe!


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Dovid Ben-Meir made aliyah after high school in Chicago. He received smicha, from the Chief Rabbis of Israel, Rabbi Avraham Shapira and Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu. He served as the rabbi of a "garin torani" - a group of families that moved to Eilat and were active in Jewish education in the city. A teacher and Rav in several yeshivot, he guides occasionally both in the Western Wall Tunnels and at the site of Ancient Shiloh. Together he and his wife Chana have children and fifteen grandchildren, all of whom live in Israel.