PM: Seeing the Balfour Declaration as a crime is the root of the Israeli-Arab conflict
Prime Minister Netanyahu speaks before the Knesset on 100th anniversary of Balfour Declaration; referring to the split that declaration made in Arab world, Netanyahu states, 'We are working to achieve peace with Arab countries who stand with us in the face of radical Islam.'
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the Knesset plenum on Tuesday, to mark the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, which recognized the Jewish people’s right to a "national home" in the Land of Israel. "When the leaders of the Palestinian leadership define the Balfour Declaration as a 'crime', when they call on the British government to apologize for it, they are not going forward—they are going back, a hundred years back," Netanyahu said. "And that is the root of the conflict—the 100-year refusal to recognize Zionism, to recognize the Jewish national home in the Land of Israel, to recognize the State of Israel within any borders."
"The tragedy of the Balfour Declaration is that it took 30 years to implement it," said Prime Minister Netanyahu. "It is now absolutely clear: the key to the future of the Jewish people is the Jewish state, and our basic obligation is to stand firm against those who seek to harm us and ensure the existence and future of the State of Israel.
"After it was granted, the Balfour Declaration was supported not just by the League of Nations but also gained the sympathy of some in the Arab world. Prince Feisal (of Syria—ed) was at the head of the Arab camp that had rebelled against the Ottoman Empire—he recognized the right of the Jews to establish their national home in Palestine, and Faisal favored cooperation between Jews and Arabs on the basis of mutual understanding and brotherhood.
"The Arab nationalistic movement, however, strongly attacked the Balfour Declaration, providing grounds for incitement and violence, not least with the encouragement of the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini.
"In 1943, he found a loyal partner—Heinrich Himmler, commander of the SS in Germany. Himmler sent the Mufti a congratulatory letter in which he wrote, "Warm Wishes for the continuation of your struggle until the great/final victory."
Netanyahu continued by saying, "Himmler is now gone, the Mufti is now gone, and Zionism has triumphed. Those who seek the roots of the intra-Islamic struggle that we have been witnessing in recent years will find them there."
He continued to state that Israel has been working to strengthern it ties with Arab countries recipient to its efforts. "We are tightening our relations with the moderate elements in the region and establishing peace with Egypt and Jordan. We are acting to achieve peace with other Arab countries who stand with us in the face of radical Islam, and I can only hope that the Palestinians finally adopt this approach and turn to peace. "
Netanyahu also referred to a visit he made last week to Britain, where Malcolm met British Prime Minister Theresa May and hosted a special dinner to mark 100 years to the Balfour Declaration, which included the current Lord Balfour, who defended the declaration by saying, "Jews needed a home because of persecution, so it wasn’t something to debate."
"I warmly thanked the British leader Teresa May, who delivered an extraordinary speech in which she made it clear that she would not think of apologizing for her country's assistance in building our national home," added Netanyahu before the Knesset.
Netanyahu thanked May in person last week, saying, "A hundred years after Balfour, the Palestinians should finally accept the Jewish national home and finally accept the Jewish state. And when they do, the road to peace will be infinitely closer. In my opinion, peace will be achievable."