It has officially been a hundred years since the Balfour Declaration which stated that Britain favored a Jewish homeland in Palestine. And to this day, there are a number of countries in the Western world that do not recognize Palestine as its own state, including the UK.
On November 2 1917, the then UK Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour issued what became known as the Balfour declaration. It comprised of a short letter to Lord Rothschild (the president of the British Zionist Federation) who had been intent on a Jewish homeland being founded in the former part of the Ottoman Empire.
The Rothschilds were one of the most influential Jewish families at that time, and the Balfour declaration essentially set out to inform the whole Zionist community that Britain backed the idea of creating a Jewish homeland in Palestine.
The declaration has since become one of the fundamental documents in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It reads:
November 2nd, 1917.
Dear Lord Rothschild,
I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet:
‘His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country’.
I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.
Arthur James Balfour”