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Protesters picket UK embassy on 99th anniversary of Balfour Declaration

Demo kicks off year-long activities to demand British apology to Palestinians

By Bahaa Al Deen Al Nawas - Nov 02,2016 - Last updated at Nov 02,2016

Activists protest against the Balfour Declaration outside the UK embassy in Amman on Wednesday (Photo by Osama Aqarbeh)

AMMAN — The National Jordanian Committee for the 100th Anniversary of the Balfour Declaration on Wednesday organised a protest in front of the British embassy, calling for compensating the Palestinians because of the damage caused by the declaration. 

On November 2, 1917, British foreign secretary Arthur James Balfour wrote a letter to Britain’s Jewish citizen Baron Lionel Walter Rothschild, expressing the government’s support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

The letter came to be known as the Balfour Declaration. 

The sit-in came on the 99th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration and marked the beginning of a campaign that will continue until the 100th anniversary in 2017, according to Abdallah Hammoudeh, who heads the Democratic Thought Forum in Jordan.

The campaign is aimed at condemning the declaration and having the UK apologise for violating the rights of Palestinian people, Hammoudeh told The Jordan Times during the protest, in which over a dozen activists participated.

Seminars will be held to raise awareness on the issue, and activists will work to collect hundreds of thousands of signatures against the declaration to be presented to the UK House of Commons and to the British government, the activist said.

Hammoudeh added that the national committee presented a memo to the UK embassy on the issue, and that similar peaceful protests were taking place on the same day in front of British embassies in 25 countries.

“Our slogan is the unity of the people, the land and the cause,” which means all Palestinians are one, he said.

Security personnel attempted to move the protesters away from the premises of the British embassy and arrested two people, but they were let go when the protest ended.

Abd Elmajid Dandis, a member of the Jordanian People’s Democratic Party (Hashed) and also a member of the national committee, told The Jordan Times that the protest is peaceful and democratic.

“We understand our constitutional and legal rights that allow us to protest peacefully as citizens of this country, and this is an attempt to put a stop to oppression against freedom of speech and opinion,” Dandis said. 

“Today, we are here to demand that the UK government and House of Commons announce the illegality of the Balfour Declaration and to apologise to Palestine and the Arabs for its repercussions,” he noted.

Nadia Shamroukh and Najia Alzouby from the Jordanian Women’s Union also took part in the sit-in and shared the same sentiments of the protesters. 

 

They stressed that “Palestine will always be an Arab country”, condemning the Balfour Declaration. 

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