Sir Harold Nicholson and the Balfour Declaration

From Nick St Aubyn
Dunsfold, Surrey

Daily Telegraph 13th Oct 2014

SIR – In 1917 my great-uncle, Sir Harold Nicolson, was a private secretary to the foreign secretary at the time of his Balfour Declaration. Nicolson, who was involved in crafting every word of the declaration, later wrote: “We never promised a Jewish State. All we ever promised was ‘a’ national home ‘in’ Palestine; and that promise was explicitly conditional on the maintenance of the rights of the Arabs.” (The Spectator, January 3 1947).

In the century following Balfour, we have witnessed those Palestinian rights trampled underfoot. Today MPs can vote to recognise the state of Palestine, which would help to restore the diplomatic balance and retrieve our reputation in the eyes of the world.

It would also warn Israel, as a friend, to save herself from a future even more disastrous than that facing white South Africa in 1990. In a single-state solution Israelis would be outnumbered, even before counting the millions of Palestinian refugees with a right of return.

 

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