Palestinian media is reporting on a meeting organized by the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) at which a number of British parliamentarians were reported to have apologized for the Balfour Declaration, a 1917 letter from the British Foreign Secretary that made public the British support of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. According to a Palestine Telegraph report:
November 6, 2013 A number of Houses of commons and lords’ apologized to the Palestinian people over the Balfour declaration and its impact on the Palestinian people The apology came during a meeting organized by Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) to mark the 96th anniversary of Balfour Declaration at the Houses of common Monday, 4th of November 2013.
The meeting discussed the progress and achievements of the international campaign, ‘Britain, it’s time to apologies’ launched by PRC in 2012.
Member of Parliament, Jeremy Corbyn, apologized sincerely for what he described as the historical mistake by Britain. He called on the British government to redeem its mistake and its ongoing impact. Jeremy’s apology was echoed by Liberal Democrats MP David Ward who also called on the British government to help solve the problem and end the plight of the Palestinian people. Ward said that Britain had no right to issue a declaration which caused the displacement of millions of Palestinians.
Amongst those who apologised includes Baroness Jenny Tonge who emphasized the implementation of Palestinian rights especially the right of return which is guaranteed by international law. She stated that Balfour declaration produced an Israeli apartheid state and that the support of Britain to such a state should end. Lord Nazir Ahmed, also amongst the panelists, called on the British government to apologize for its role in the ethnic cleansing and exile of the Palestin people. He also asked Britain to apologise to those countries who suffered under Britain’s colonial past.
Speakers at the seminar also included the Palestinian Ambassador, Prof. Manuel Hassassian, who expressed his deep frustration over the current stance of the British government over Palestine. He deplored the government’s position which is unhelpful and counterproductive. He called on the British government to play a more significant role. He also added that British policy towards Palestine didn’t change substantively.
Head of Media department at PRC and the spokesperson of , ‘Britain, it’s time to apologize’ international campaign stated that more British politicians are joining the campaign. Mr. Habeeb added that other organizations are also joining and that various projects will be launched over the coming months to obtain further support from British people and masses of European and non-European states.”
The Balfour Declaration was a November 2, 1917 letter from British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Lord Rothschild that made public the British support of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. The Balfour Declaration led the League of Nations to entrust the United Kingdom with the Palestine Mandate in 1922.
The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) has many ties to the Global Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas. Current and past PRC directors have also been directors of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), a part of the U.K. Muslim Brotherhood. The PRC is also as an affiliate of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) which frequently acts in concert with U.K. Muslim Brotherhood groups and PRC activities are often promoted by the MAB, MCB, and other U.K. Brotherhood organizations. PRC director Ghassan Four is also a Trustee of INTERPAL, a key member of the Union of Good, a coalition of charities headed by Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi and which helps to raise funds for Hamas. Arafat Madi (aka Arafat Madi Shoukri), identified in the past as the Executive Director of the PRC, is also the chairman of the European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza (ECESG), one of the main sponsors of the Gaza flotilla movement and also tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood. PRC director Zaher Birawi is a Trustee of Education Aid for Palestine (EAP), also a part of the Union of Good. Mr. Birawi has also been the head of programming for Al-Hiwar TV which frequently features MB/Hamas individuals and organizations and was founded by Azzam Al-Tamimi, a U.K Muslim Brotherhood leader and close to Hamas. An Israeli web site, known to be close to Israeli military intelligence, has reported that Mr. Birawi, along with another PRC Trustee are “past Hamas operatives who found refuge in Britain in the early nineties.” In December 2010, the israeli government declared the PRC to be an illegal organization stating “the Center functions as Hamas’s organizational branch in Europe and its members are senior Hamas leaders who promote the movement’s agenda in Europe, and directly interact with various Hamas leaders, particularly from Damascus.
In April, the GMBDW reported on the 11th Palestinians in Europe conference organized by the PRC and which featured as always a group of conference speakers tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood and/or Hamas.