Ok, not quite, because the British are all polite and civilized. But this is how they responded to a petition demanding the UK “openly apologise to the Palestinian people for issuing the Balfour Declaration.”
The Balfour Declaration is an historic statement for which HMG does not intend to apologise. We are proud of our role in creating the State of Israel. The task now is to encourage moves towards peace.
The Declaration was written in a world of competing imperial powers, in the midst of the First World War and in the twilight of the Ottoman Empire. In that context, establishing a homeland for the Jewish people in the land to which they had such strong historical and religious ties was the right and moral thing to do, particularly against the background of centuries of persecution. Of course, a full assessment of the Declaration and what followed from it can only be made by historians.
Much has happened since 1917. We recognise that the Declaration should have called for the protection of political rights of the non-Jewish communities in Palestine, particularly their right to self-determination. However, the important thing now is to look forward and establish security and justice for both Israelis and Palestinians through a lasting peace. We believe the best way to achieve this is through a two-state solution: a negotiated settlement that leads to a safe and secure Israel living alongside a viable and sovereign Palestinian state, based on the 1967 borders with agreed land swaps, Jerusalem as the shared capital of both states, and a just, fair, agreed and realistic settlement for refugees.
We believe that such negotiations will only succeed when they are conducted between Israelis and Palestinians, but with appropriate support from the international community. We remain in close consultation with both sides and international partners to encourage meaningful bilateral negotiations. We do not underestimate the challenges, but if both parties show bold leadership, peace is possible. The UK is ready to do all it can to support this goal.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
But in fairness, we cannot really expect anything else from the UK Government. They will be even-handed, so I take it as a positive that they have put their foot down and basically told the petitioners Israel is here to stay, for which the UK will not only not apologize, but is proud of their involvement (and, yes, it is sad I would be pleased that a world government has to tell people that Israel’s existence is not in question).
Of course, practically speaking, such platitudes will not bring peace while the palestinans want nothing less than Israel’s destruction.