Abbas’ advisor: Balfour Declaration was an “ugly crime,” giving Palestine to “undeserving” Jews
Official PA TV, Friday prayers at the PA presidential headquarters mosque, sermon by Supreme Shari’ah Judge, Mahmoud Abbas’ advisor on Religious and Islamic Affairs, and Chairman of the Supreme Council for Shari'ah Justice Mahmoud Al-Habbash on the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration;
Present in audience: PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and PLO Executive Committee member Mahmoud Ismail.
Supreme Shari’ah Judge and Mahmoud Abbas’ advisor on Religious and Islamic Affairs, Mahmoud Al-Habbash: ""It could be that no injustice in the modern age and the last century, against any people, nation, or person, is equal [in severity] to the injustice that has harmed the Palestinian people. For the last 100 years - In another few days we will mark the miserable anniversary of the ugly injustice and ugly crime that befell our people, through what is known as the Balfour Promise (i.e., Declaration). In another few days, on Nov. 2 , it will be 100 years of the ugliest injustice to ever befall [our] people in this land, in the modern age. One with no ownership of this land – Foreign Secretary [Arthur Balfour] of Britain which occupied Palestine while having no ownership of any part of Palestine, not even one millimeter or one grain of sand – gave a promise to one undeserving who has no connection to this land, not religiously or historically, at the expense of the Palestinian people.
Britain could have given the Jews a national homeland in Britain, their country – perhaps that would have been simpler. But why in our land? Is it their land? Are they its people? Were they its owners? Did they have history in its territory, so that they could treat it as owners treat their property? They [Britain] have no ownership and they have no right, and those to whom they made the promise [the Jews] have no right to it.
Palestine was not empty. It was not lacking people and history. The Palestinian presence in this land has been uninterrupted for 5,000 years, since the dawn of history - even before Abraham came to this land. When Abraham came to this land, he found in it generous people who provided him with shelter and land, and he was deserving of this because he was a prophet of Allah.
However, Abraham did not claim that he had a right to this land at the expense of its inhabitants, but rather when he wanted a burial plot for his wife he bought it from its owners and asked their permission. He asked permission of the owners because he was a guest. On the other hand, Balfour and Britain committed this crime at our expense and at the expense of our history and rights, and this is not consistent with reason, religion, law, and morals."
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The Balfour Declaration of Nov. 2, 1917 was a letter from British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Baron Rothschild stating that “His Majesty's government views with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” In 1922, the League of Nations adopted this and made the British Mandate “responsible for putting into effect the declaration,” which led to the UN vote in 1947 and the establishment of the State of Israel.
Al-Habbash is Mahmoud Abbas’ advisor on Religious and Islamic Affairs, and Supreme Shari’ah Judge and Chairman of the Supreme Council for Shari'ah Justice
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