The British government is refusing to apologize for the 1917 Balfour Declaration, a document that legitimized the creation of a future Jewish state.
“The Balfour Declaration is an historic statement for which HMG (her Majesty’s Government) does not intend to apologize,” the UK Foreign office says in a statement in response to an online petition. “We are proud of our role in creating the State of Israel.
“Establishing a homeland for the Jewish people in the land to which they had such strong historical and religious ties was the right and moral thing to do, particularly against the background of centuries of persecution,” the statement says.
The statement comes in response to Palestinian-led effort urging the British government to apologize for supporting the Declaration and “the colonial policy of Britain between 1917-1948 [that] led to mass displacement of the Palestinian nation.”
The petition by the Palestinian Return Centre has garnered some 13,400 online signatures. If the petition passes 100,000 signatures by May 3 it will debated in parliament.