Balfour Declaration

A public statement written by British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour on November 2, 1917, in a letter to Walter Rothschild, a Jewish Zionist leader and British financier, on behalf of the British Government. The statement declared British King George V’s commitment to facilitate the establishment in Palestine of a Jewish “national home.” Rothschild was to transmit the statement, published in The Times, to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland.  

Importantly, Britain made this declaration even though World War I was not yet over, and Britain had not yet captured Palestine from the Ottomans, which it did one month later. In the declaration, Balfour added the key phrase “it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.” This phrase was never followed through upon.  

For over a century, Palestinians have condemned the declaration to be a clear indication of British and Zionist schemes in Palestine at the expense of non-Jewish Palestinians, and of Britain’s repeated betrayals of the Arabs following its failure to deliver on its promise of granting the Arabs an independent kingdom in 1916.