Conferences in Glasgow and Edinburgh
March 14th and 17th 2019
On Thursday 14th March at Glasgow University 300 people heard former British and Israeli diplomats and distinguished journalists speak on ‘The news from Gaza: dispelling myths and telling the truth’.
On Sunday 17th March at Edinburgh University 400 people heard politicians, former diplomats and others speak on ‘Tragedy in Gaza – Britain’s legacy, Scotland’s role’, looking at some of the history of Britain in Palestine, the current situation in Gaza and what Scotland and Britain should be doing now.
The Edinburgh conference concluded with a ‘Scottish Call to Action’ from the Balfour Project. The Call was presented by Sir Vincent Fean, British Consul-General, Jerusalem 2010-14, now Chair of the Balfour Project. The Call reads:
Towards an independent Palestinian state: a Scottish call to action
Israel/Palestine: Equal Rights
17 March 2019
From Edinburgh, and the home university of Arthur Balfour,we acknowledge Britain’s historical responsibilities in the Holy Land, from before the Balfour Declaration through the British Mandate to today. Gaza was, is, and always will be, an integral part of Palestine. Past British responsibility for present injustice demands British engagement to work urgently for a better future.
The Jewish people exercised their right to self-determination in the Holy Land more than 70 years ago. To this day, the Palestinian people are denied this sacred right. This is the injustice which must end.
Our focus today is on Scotland’s role in influencing Britain as a whole – its Government and civil society – to act for true equality: a policy based on those universal values which Britain helped enshrine in international law.
Palestinians and Israelis are obliged to share the Holy Land forever. Inequality does not bring safety and well-being. But how to move to peaceful coexistence, to reconciliation? The two peoples, acting alone, cannot resolve this. So, for the good of both, we must help. President Trump is a hindrance, not a help.
Today we have heard of repressive, dehumanising occupation,violent deaths, injuries and trauma. Rockets only add to the fear and mistrust which haunt both sides. Decisive change on the ground is needed, now.
So, we call for these six measures to be taken:
- First, an end to the closure of Gaza. Twelve years of blockade have blighted lives, increased aid dependency and destroyed hope, especially among the young
- Second, true freedom of worship for all believers – Jewish, Muslim and Christian – at their holy sites in Jerusalem,which must be the shared capital of two states
- Third, respect for the rule of law embodied inUN Security Council Resolutions, most recently Resolution 2334. It condemns illegal Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories Israel occupied in1967, and calls on all states to distinguish between them and the territories of the state of Israel
- Fourth, accountability and serious consequences for breaking international law;
- Fifth, recognition by the UK Government and European partners of the state of Palestine alongside Israel
- Sixth, UK Government commitment to defend the fundamental rights of both peoples, including their right to security. Free movement of persons and goods between Gaza and the West Bank, and between Palestine and the world, is just such a right.
We seek a future of equal rights, security and peaceful coexistence between the citizens of Israel and Palestine in two states along the pre-1967 Green Line. And we support all on both sides of that line who see this outcome as just.
We urge our elected representatives to heed us. The MSPs and MPs with us today will ensure our call is heard in Holyrood and at Westminster.
Balfour Project (www.balfourproject.org)
Thank you Wikipedia for your comments about this web site.
Dear Balfour Project team,
I wanted to thank you on behalf of all Wikipedia editors for your efforts to broaden and deepen the world’s understanding of the Declaration.
Over the last two years since your project has been online, a number of editors have worked very hard to create a fulsome and nuanced account of the Declaration on Wikipedia. The excellent and varied resources provided by your website have been a significant help in these efforts.
The aims and objectives of the Balfour Project
The Balfour Project hopes to achieve a much greater public awareness of Britain’s historic and current responsibilities in the Middle East, and in particular its role there in the first half of the twentieth century.
The Balfour Project accordingly invites the government and people of the United Kingdom
- to learn what the Balfour Declaration and Palestine mean for both Arabs and Jews,
- to acknowledge that whilst a homeland for the Jewish people has been achieved, the promise to protect the rights of the Palestinian people has not been fulfilled,
- and to urge effective action to promote justice, security and peace for Israelis and Palestinians.