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If ever there was a time to re-examine colonial legacies and responsibilities, this is it. The theft of Palestine from the Palestinians is one such legacy. On 2 November 1917, the foreign secretary, Arthur James Balfour, issued his famous declaration in support of “a national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine. In 1917, Jews constituted 10% of the population, the rest were Arabs. Yet Britain recognised the national rights of a tiny minority and denied it to the majority.
In his 2014 biography of Winston Churchill, Boris Johnson described the Balfour declaration as “bizarre”, “tragically incoherent” and “an exquisite piece of Foreign Office fudgerama” — a rare example of sound judgment and historical accuracy from the pen of Johnson.
The Balfour declaration enabled the Zionist movement to embark on the systematic takeover of Palestine, a process the Zionists themselves initially described as settler colonialism, a process which is still continuing.