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July 28, 2022 Special Dispatch No. 10103

Palestinian Culture Minister: Britain Is The One That Stole Our Country; It Must Be Brought To Trial For Its Crimes

July 28, 2022
Palestine | Special Dispatch No. 10103

July 24, 2022 was the 100th anniversary of the League of Nations' issuance of the Mandate for Palestine, which authorized Britain to administer Palestine and the Transjordan. On the occasion of this anniversary, Palestinian Culture Minister 'Atef Abu Saif published an article in the Al-Ayyam daily that was sharply critical of Britain, stating that, other than the Zionist movement, it is the element that committed the gravest crimes against the Palestinian people.  Britain, said Abu Saif, deliberately conquered Palestine in order to hand it over the Jews so they could "murder and expel" its Palestinian inhabitants, and today it is continuing its crimes by refusing to recognize the Palestinian state and denying the rights of the Palestinian people. Abu Saif called to activate the pro-Palestinian lobby in Britain in order to pressure its government to recognize the Palestinian state and act to end the occupation. He also called to demand a formal and public apology from Britain for its crimes against the Palestinians, and to sue it for these crimes in an international court.


'Atef Abu Saif (Source: Cairo24.com)

The following are translated excepts from his article: [1]   

"With the exception of the Zionist movement and its gangs, which became a state, it can perhaps be said that no country or force has committed graver crimes against our [Palestinian] people than Britain has. Furthermore, one of the main mistakes [we] made in the Palestinian national struggle was that we did not take Britain to court for its crimes against our people. True, it was the Zionist movement that murdered and expelled our people, but it did so thanks to the historically unprecedented aid it received: Britain seized our nation by the throat, forced it into the Zionists' slaughterhouse, placed its head on the butcher's block and handed the butcher a knife. What an evil act that was. Just as we must continue our struggle to attain freedom and win back our land and our rights, we must struggle to take Britain to court for this heinous act.

"[But] perhaps the most painful fact is that Britain was and still is the country that is most radically opposed to the rights of our people. Britain's insolence has crossed every line. This is the country that issued the reprehensible promise [i.e., the Balfour Declaration] to kill us and kill the [Palestinian] state and hand us over, shackled, to the Zionists. [It is the country] that occupied the land for this purpose, published the notorious document known as the Mandate [for Palestine], and then strengthened the foreign settlers [i.e., the Zionists], armed them, trained them and withdrew when they were ready to butcher and expel us from our land. To this day, [Britain] refuses to recognize our political rights; in fact, it is not even willing to contemplate recognizing any of our political [rights], such as our right to a state even on 21% of the land, [although] it had a hand in stealing and destroying [this land] and in killing its owners.

"I believe… that even if we had appointed the tyrants of the world as judges in the worst court in history, this court would not have accepted any excuse Britain could present for its heinous crime, a crime whose repercussions are felt [to this day] by the descendants of the descendants of those unarmed [Palestinians] who were butchered and expelled based on a British decision carried out by the Zionists. Perhaps no judiciary known to man could tolerate the evil perpetrated by Britain against us, an evil that grows from day to day because this country, which destroyed our land, persists in its stubborn refusal to recognize the Palestinian state and our political rights. This growing crime is already over a century old, yet Britain and its leaders continue to perpetrate it with unspeakable injustice.  

"No reasonable person can believe this insolence, this stubbornness and this denial of the rights of others. Does this indicate that Britain is not sorry for its deed, and that this plan was in fact concocted in the dead of night and implemented out or conviction[?] Yes, it does. Everything that was done – the Sykes Picot [Agreement], the Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine and the partition plan, as well as the support for Israel in every international forum and [the efforts to] arm it – none of it was incidental or accidental. It was planned, and [then] carried out deliberately and [even] with glee.

"Yesterday [July 24, 2022] was the 100th anniversary of the issuance of the reprehensible Mandate for Palestine by the League of Nations. This was a reprehensible document that Britain acted to receive in order to attain the legal authority to govern Palestine, so as to encourage the Zionists to immigrate there and then hand it over, prepared and ready, to the Zionist movement, after denying every element of life to its original inhabitants and handing over the government to the new oppressors.

"This [Mandate] was the fourth satanic move that Britain took as part of robbing us of our country. Yes, Britain is the one that stole our country, along with the Zionist movement. The first [step] was the Sykes-Picot Agreement, which divided the Arab region between Britain and France, and Britain made every effort to receive Palestine, so as to implement this plan. The second step was the reprehensible Balfour Declaration, in which Britain took the liberty of giving the land to the foreigners. The third was the occupation of the country by [the British] General Allenby, who did this in order to prepare the country for the Zionists. The fourth was attaining international authorization to prepare the country and then hand it over to the foreign settlers, [the step] known as [the issuance of] the Mandate [for Palestine]. And finally, of course, there was the partition resolution, and the surrender of the territory to the foreigners.     

"That is what happened. It cannot be prettified and no historian can downplay the gravity of what happened… Despite this, Britain continues to deny the rights of our people… This is an unprecedented act of injustice.

"We can act on two levels. First, we can continue to exert pressure with the help of the Palestinians' allies within Britain, and they are many, so as to keep [pressuring] the British government and parliament to recognize the Palestinian state and to utilize its capabilities towards ending this occupation. Yes, [Britain] should direct all its capabilities towards [aiding] the Palestinian people's struggle for liberty, because it played a meaningful part in the loss of this liberty. Alternatively, we can do one of two things: [get] Britain to formally apologize to the Palestinian people and acknowledge that everything it did was a violation of our people's rights and of every norm, or else seek to have Britain brought to trial in international courts. In the latter case, we must not  suffice with condemnations but demand compensation for everything that happened to our people because of [Britain's] policy, including the destruction of our family homes by the British forces during the suppression of the 1936 revolution [the Arab Revolt], and other disasters that can be enumerated. This is a significant task [for us], but it must be undertaken, instead of all the speeches and rhetoric.

"Certain people took part in the massacre of our people, and, in light of this insolent denial of our rights, we must resort to legal action, for someone must stand, head bowed, and apologize for all the suffering caused to our people. Our people, who has suffered discrimination at the hands of the international community, deserves at least this apology…"

 

[1] Al-Ayyam (Palestinian Authority), July 25, 2022.

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