RAMALLAH, April 25, 2017 (WAFA) - Palestinian ambassador to the UK, Manuel Hassassian, Tuesday said that Britain has officially said it will not apologize for the infamous Balfour Declaration, and instead it has taken measures punishing the Palestinians for demanding this.
Speaking to Voice of Palestine radio, Hassassian said Queen Elizabeth and the British government have refused to apologize for the declaration when then British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour promised on November 2, 1917 Europe’s Jews a homeland in Palestine totally disregarding the fact that there are sovereign people living there.
The government, he said, has confirmed that the centennial anniversary of the declaration would be held as scheduled in spite of strong Palestinian objections and threats of suing it for the declaration.
Hassassian said that the British government was determined not to back down from its position because, it says, the Balfour Declaration was an integral part of the history of British colonialism and has served the interest of the Jews who were displaced in Europe.
Reacting to the official Palestinian position, the UK, Hassassian added, has taken a series of punitive measures against the Palestinian diplomatic team in London and which it has already started to implement.
This includes not giving diplomatic status as was the case with the outgoing ambassador Hassassian to the new ambassador to the UK, Maen Erekat, and his staff, , who would also be required to pay taxes to the British government.
Hassassian stressed President Mahmoud Abbas’ position and determination to sue Britain, noting that there are a number of attorneys in the UK who are following up on this issue.
If the UK backs down, apologizes to the Palestinian people and recognizes the state of Palestine, the issue of suing the UK will be cancelled, he said.