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Abbas Plans to Sue Lord Balfour

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has asked Arab nations to fund a lawsuit against the United Kingdom the basis of which is the 1917 Balfour Declaration. The document, which is sacrosanct in the world of Israel and its supporters, declared that British policy favored the establishment of “a national home for the Jewish people,” and was ultimately incorporated into the British Mandate for Palestine. To Israelis, the Balfour Declaration affirmed its right to statehood while to 21st century Palestinians, it is being viewed retroactively as the beginning of what is referred to as “the Naqba” – catastrophe – meaning the creation of the modern state of Israel. The actual specifics of the suit were not explained, nor was it clear what the grounds would be or whether there even are grounds that could have survived a presumed 99-year statute of limitations. Announcement of the plan to sue the British was made by Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Malki at the meeting of the Arab League in Mauritania, standing in for Abbas who is mourning the death of his brother. While offering Palestinian support for the new French peace initiative, Malki called for an end to regional cooperation with Israel, arguing that it leads to normalization which alleviates international pressure on Israel to abandon post-1967 territories. The date for Lord Balfour’s deposition has not been set.