The Palestinians’ upcoming legal case against the 1917 Balfour Declaration is just another in long line of increasingly desperate attempts to delegitimize the Jewish state. But is Abbas finally, in the world’s eyes, going too far?
At the recent Arab Summit in Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania, the Palestinian Authority (PA) foreign minister, Riyad al-Maliki, announced that his boss, PA President Mahmoud Abbas, had asked the Arab states prepare a legal case against Britain in retaliation for the Balfour Declaration of 1917. The Balfour Declaration, which took the form of a letter from British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to the Zionist leader Lord Rothschild, confirmed Britain’s favorable view of a “national homeland” for the Jewish people in Palestine, which came under British control towards the end of World War I. For that reason, the PLO’s National Covenant dates the beginning of the “Zionist invasion” to 1917 — any Jews who arrived in the land after that date are considered to be illegal settlers.
These days, that’s basically every Jew in Israel.
Of course, Abbas has been able to get away with this kind of incitement many times in the past, so there was no reason for him to expect any moral condemnation from Western leaders. Had he stuck to denying the link between Jews and the city of Jerusalem, or named another public square after a terrorist, he would probably have been spared the ridicule which has greeted his tactical error of going after the British — and therefore going too far.