Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki Threatens Legal Action against Britain If It Continues to Ignore Palestinian Demands for Reparations for the Balfour Declaration
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki said, in an interview with the PA TV, that the Palestinian leadership was "entirely serious" about its demand for an apology and for reparations from Britain over the 1917 Balfour Declaration. Al-Maliki said that when he met the British foreign secretary, "I told him very clearly what we expect," but "so far, we haven’t heard from them." The Palestinian foreign minister said that "the ball is now in the court of the British," but that if they continue to ignore the Palestinian demands, the Palestinian Authority may opt for legal action against Britain. The interview aired on January 18.
Riyad Al-Maliki: We are entirely serious about the issue of the Balfour Declaration. The messages that we have sent to the British were very clear. When I met the British foreign secretary, I told him very clearly what we expect. We expect them to apologize, to accept their historical responsibility, to acknowledge [their culpability], and to pay reparations. I said to him very clearly: "To help you with all that, we are willing to form a bilateral committee, which will study all these issues and come up with some formulas." So far, we haven't heard from them. The current escalation on their part makes us consider [possible] Palestinian action with regard to all those issues, including our action with regard to the Balfour Declaration. I won't be divulging anything by saying that we have made plans for action in the framework of our embassies and our communities in Europe and Britain, and plans to mobilize civil society institutions in Britain and elsewhere. Second, we could move ahead, with the Arab countries, on the basis of the decision taken in the Nouakchott Summit, to help us with Arab experts on international law, in order to determine the legal framework for our action. In addition, we have our own legal capabilities, and we can examine what actions we may take on all levels.
The ball is in the court of the British. If Britain wants to contain all these measures on all levels, and to treat us responsibly on this issue - it is most welcome. If Britain does not want that, and prefers to escalate things on all levels, and to ignore the suggestions we made, rather than treat them positively, we will complete the measures that we have initiated.