News

Michelle Alexander, writes in the New York times:

Martin Luther King Jr. courageously spoke out about the Vietnam War. We must do the same when it comes to this grave injustice of our time….

Ten years after the first war on Gaza, Israel still plans endless brute force 

A foremost historian of the Middle East and the Israel-Palestine crisis, Avi Shlaim, professor emeritus of international relations at Oxford, writes in the Guardian, January 8  https://gu.com/p/ad5kp/sbl   of the beginning of the current cycle of major Israeli military assaults on the Gaza Strip.. He marks the tenth anniversary of Operation Cast Lead, December 2008-January 2009, in which 1,417 Gazans were killed, 313 of them children. The Israeli death toll was 13. Professor Shlaim reveals that Hamas, which controls Gaza, had sent in early December 2008 a written proposal (via an American go-between from the [Jimmy] Carter Center for Conflict Resolution) to a senior Israeli military figure, offering to restore the June 2008 ceasefire, which had held until Israel broke it that November.  Israel ignored this December 2008 Hamas approach and launched its Cast Lead Operation at the end of that month. 

UK says new housing units in West Bank ‘unacceptable

The Israeli government’s announcement to “advance over 2,800 housing units” in West Bank settlements is “unacceptable and disappointing,” a senior British minister said Thursday, says Anadolu Agency.

Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt said:

Such actions are illegal under international law and call into question Israel’s commitment to any future peace agreement with the Palestinians.

Middle East Peace Process: the E8 reaffirm support to two-state solution

The Governments of the U.K., France and 5 more EU members have reaffirmed their commitment to 2 states – Israel and Palestine – in the Holy Land. Their 18 December statement is a diplomatic warning that President Trump’s still-awaited “deal of the century” is all too likely to ignore international law and the commitment to 2 sovereign states.  Read the full statement here

Netherworld by Ari Shavit

Can Gaza ever be more than an insoluble problem? read more

EIRIS Foundation – International Trade Policies

 Access to markets affects business decisions. Various international trade policies affect the import and export of goods and services to and from occupied territories. Below you will find links to major international trade policies affecting access to and from markets in Crimea and Palestine.

EU Support for the US Peace Plan Must be Based on Parameters

The Trump administration may not have yet formally unveiled its peace plan, but it is already moving to reshape the traditional realities that have governed the middle east peace process since the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords….

Gaza’s fragile calm: The search for lasting stability

SUMMARY
  • Intensive UN and Egyptian efforts to mediate between Israel and Hamas have staved off an immediate return to conflict in Gaza. This is a quick fix that buys badly needed time to find a longer-term solution.
  • Gaza’s problems are fundamentally political, resulting from restrictions imposed by Israel, Egypt, and the Palestinian Authority, as well as internal Palestinian divisions.
  • The EU should lead collective action to challenge the political obstacles to lasting stability, developing a more realistic political map that can guide its technical and financial support for Gaza.
  • The EU needs to promote moderating policies that can shift Israel, the PA, and Hamas away from putting their rivalries with one another before all else.
  • The EU should also see Gaza as a springboard for Palestinian reunification and sovereignty-building.

Latest Invest in Peace events

Invest in Peace invites Christian and Jewish communities in Britain to come together in support of Israeli-Palestinian peacebuilding projects. The events provide the opportunity to hear from two bereaved parents, one Israeli and one Palestinian, who promote reconciliation as an alternative to revenge – Robi Damelin and Bassam Aramin, members of the Parents Circle – Families Forum.

Times letter, 13 September – The Oslo Accords, 25 years on: time to recognise the state of Palestine alongside Israel

“Sir, It is painful now to recall the hope we had in the Oslo Accords. Twenty-five years on, cynicism and resignation rule. The Israeli occupation since 1967 has become so entrenched that it is hard to see  beyond it. There is a better way, …” Read More

WCC and local churches express deep concern about Jewish Nation-State Law

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches, stressed “this is about the Holy land and holy places of three religions. Jerusalem must be a shared one.”

‘Middle East peace is my life’s mission’: Prince William’s pledge after Israel visit

Prince William has pledged to make peace in the Middle East his “lifelong project” after his historic trip to the region.

The 36-year-old father of three was so moved by the stories of those he met – especially the suffering endured by youngsters – he even personally rewrote half an official speech to reflect his own feelings.

He might not be able to bring about change in the near future but the British government could and should play a more active role in rescuing the two-states solution.

Bishops condemn deaths in Gaza

Two Balfour Project patrons Bishop Declan Lang and Bishop Christopher Chessun write: “The terrible loss of life in Gaza caused by the Israeli army’s use of live fire against civilians is to be condemned unequivocally.

Watch: Westminster Balfour Declaration event – film Independent Catholic News Dec 15th

Trump’s Jerusalem Declaration Exposes the true Essence of Zionism , it’s a global ideology espoused and funded by Christians. Haaretz, Dec 15th
Britain’s Broken Promise Joint Public Issues Nov 2nd
Balfour Declaration Centennial Wasn’t About Israel or Palestine. It Was About U.K.’s Delusions of GrandeurHaaretz Nov 2nd
Balfour 100: Senior Church figures lament Britain’s ‘broken promise’ to the Palestinians.Christian Today Nov 1st
Faith leaders and politicians speak of Britain’s Broken Balfour Promise Independent Catholic News Nov 1st
Britain’s Broken Promise: Time for a New Approach Bishop Declan Lang’s speech Nov 1st

Recent press articlesand the report of Britain’s Broken Promise: Time for a New approach

Prominent Israelis call for recognition of Palestine
British responsibility for the contradictions in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute gives the UK a duty to right a wrong, says Nicholas Frayling in the Church Times:  A policy of 1917 whose legacy needs addressing.

The Balfour Centenary Declaration was launched at a press conference in Parliament on October 31st.

The Guardian’s Long Read of 17 October was headlined ‘Britain’s calamitous promise’. Author Ian Black writes ‘The brief document that bears Balfour’s name is seen as marking the beginning of what is today widely considered the world’s most intractable conflict.’

100 Shades of Grey – From Balfour to Banksy: Divisions and Visions in Palestine This new film   Directed by Martin Buckley and Produced by Miranda Pinch. Nov 1st 2-4pm 30 Gordon Street, London WC1H 0QB  https://www.ucl.ac.uk/maps/drayton-jevons-lt

 

Amos Trust are organising their   Just Walk to Jerusalem 2017  It’s very simple – we’re asking for full equal rights for everybody who calls the Holy Land home.

Donald Macintyre in the Guardian (13 October) 

 

‘A chance to make good on Britain’s broken promise’ is the heading to his article. It is sub-headed ‘A century after the Balfour Declaration, the UK should acknowledge its role in Palestinian suffering’.

‘That outstanding broken promise is a theme of one of the most interesting forthcoming public meetings on Balfour on 31 October,’ it continued, ‘which will “acknowledge Britain’s historic responsibilities in the Middle East” and commit to “supporting Palestinians and Israelis in building a peaceful future based on equal rights for all.”’

This was a reference to the event at Central Hall Westminster when British leaders – political, religious and academic – will speak on ‘Britain’s Broken Promise: Time for a New Approach’.

100 Years After Balfour is a new talking heads film made by Independent Jewish Voices.

The film spells out the troubling legacy of the Balfour Declaration, challenging the notion that this year’s centenary is cause for celebration, given the grave consequences of the document for Palestinians above all. The film goes on to explain how the decisions of the British government in 1917 are linked to the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, its fifty year occupation of the West Bank since 1967, and today’s political gridlock. 100 Years After Balfour features seven experts and activists: Professor Avi Shlaim, Professor Jacqueline Rose, Rabbi Howard Cooper, Professor Brian Klug, Antony Lerman, Barnaby Raine and Miri Weingarten.

October 7th MEMO hosted a conference in the British Library entitled ‘Palestine, Britain and the Balfour Declaration 100 years on’  Dr Peter Shambrook one of the Balfour Project Trustees was one of the contributors,

On Wednesday Oct 4 there was a spirited debate on this Declaration and some of its deleterious effects at the Frontline journalists’ Club in London.

Read the article , Unfinished business? Seeking peace through the door of justice in the Holy Land by The Very Revd Nicholas Frayling, Dean Emeritus of Chichester in the Pax Christi newsletter of June – July  2017

Parallel Histories has launched a Balfour Film Competition for schools to make a 2 minute film to address the question, “Should Britain be praised or blamed for the Balfour Declaration?”.

On Saturday 18th March, Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine (LDFP) held a fringe event about the Balfour Declaration at their Spring Conference in York.  They advertised the event at our conference stall, and filled the room with an audience of 45.   Nasser Butt was in the Chair and showed the Balfour Project film ‘Britain in Palestine, 1917-1948’.  After this Jonathan Coulter gave a talk highlighting Britain’s historical responsibility and making the case for an apology.  Then Tom Brake, the Foreign Affairs spokesman, spoke of the Balfour Project (of which he is a patron) and related matters, and there followed a lively discussion, notably as to how the Party should handle the Israeli/Palestinian cause internally, and about the viability of a ‘Two-State Solution’.  All the feedback on the meeting was very positive, adding to the strong impact of LDFP’s conference stall.  We signed up many new supporters, to whom we shall continue communicating through our newsletters about the Balfour centenary.

16th February 2017 The Earl of Balfour calls for Palestinian state to honour ancestor’s declaration In a letter to the New York Times the 5th Earl, Roderick Balfour acknowledged that while one part of the Balfour Declaration, which gave Jews a homeland in Palestine, had been fulfilled, the other, respecting the rights of the native Palestinian population, had not.

25th January  2017 The joint public issues team of the Baptists, Church of Scotland and Methodists published an article entitled: Marking the 100 year anniversary of the Balfour Declaration that promised a homeland for the Jewish people. They link to articles on the Balfour Project web site.

19th January 2017 Professor Avi Shlaim writes: British policy towards Palestine reveals a persistent pro-Israeli bias, from Lord Balfour to Theresa May in a recent article entitled Perfidious Albion and Israel-Palestine.  He quotes an article on the Balfour Project web site on the promise to the Arabs.

9th January 2017 The Methodist recorder had an article on the Balfour Project in the Methodist recorder . It was produced by Christians Aware.

In November 16th 2016 the House of Commons debated the Centenary of the Balfour Declaration. The debate was secured by Caroline Ansell a Conservative friend of Israel. However, many MPs commented on the unfinished business of the Declaration, the promise to protect the rights of the Arab population which had not yet been fulfilled. Tom Brake noted that he was a Patron of the Balfour Project and gave our aims. He finished by saying:

 

The UK has a particular historical responsibility towards the Palestinian people. We failed to honour our promises nearly 100 years ago. We have a duty now to actively support the peace process and to secure a viable Palestinian state. That is what our Government must do—indeed, a number of Members have said today that they want the Government to do it. It will be the most effective and meaningful way of marking the Balfour declaration and would mean that in future years its anniversary could be celebrated by both the Jewish people and the Palestinian people.

Tobias Ellwood, Minister for the Middle East and Africa, spoke:

The Balfour Declaration had its flaws. It called for the protection of the “civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”. It should have protected their political rights too, most especially their right to self-determination…. The seriousness of the situation faced by millions still affected by the conflict is testament to the fact that the achievement of Jewish and Palestinian self-determination in the former British mandate of Palestine is a task as yet unfulfilled.

5th Nov  2016  Balfour Project had a conference in Southwark Cathedral, entitled ‘How will we mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration’

2nd Oct  2016 Balfour Project’s Liverpool conference ‘Balfour Declaration Centenary, 2017: towards constructive commemoration’