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Palestinian recognition of Balfour Declaration would be step towards peace in troubled region

letter of the day: Israeli unrest

In the last few weeks across the country, celebrations have taken place to mark the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration.

The declaration was a public statement, issued by the British Government during the First World War, announcing support for the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine. The letter, sent by Arthur James Balfour, was important, as it recognised the right of the Jewish people to self-determination.

The modern state of Israel was established on May 14, 1948. We should mark with pride the role that Britain played in helping the establishment of the only true democracy in the Middle East.

Sadly, those who claim to represent the interests of the Palestinian people blame Israel, Britain and others for not having a state, while ignoring their own culpability. Had the Arab nations accepted the 1947 United Nations partition agreement, there would be a Palestinian state now.

There would have been no wars in 1948, 1967 and 1973 and there would have been no loss of life in the countless terror attacks that have taken place since.

If the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, would correctly recognise Balfour today as a positive step towards Jewish statehood and not be so embittered by the failure of his own leadership to achieve sovereignty for his people, it would be a step towards peace in this troubled region.

JOHN GRILLS

Belfast

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