Courtesy of the National Palestinian Independents Party
One hundred three years after the Balfour Declaration, Palestinians have finally decided to tackle the origin of their national catastrophe and ongoing suffering, searching for new means of resistance in their attempts and efforts to restore their rights. Thus, an integrated project under the title “Following Up on Palestinian Rights through Legal Means” has been initiated by the president of the National Palestinian Independents Party and leading businessman Munib R. Masri. This project entails the legal pursuit of the British government as part of a comprehensive plan that has begun before the Palestinian national judiciary and that will soon be taken forward to British and international courts.
Mr. Masri explains that the case’s foundation builds on the Balfour Declaration as a sinister racist statement and moral crime par excellence. Not only did the famous declaration promise the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine, granting them full-fledged political and civil rights, but also it attempted to reduce the Palestinians – the country’s indigenous people – to mere “existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.” It recognized nothing but Palestinians’ civil and religious rights, even though they constituted over 92 percent of Palestine’s population at the time.
Mr. Masri adds that the Balfour Declaration stands as a heinous crime against humanity because it set the path for the suppressive colonial methods that the British Mandate applied in Palestine and eventually gave birth to the Israeli occupation state and its oppressive measures that are being implemented to this day. The Balfour Declaration was used to justify the displacement of more than 60 percent of a people, the theft of their lands, and the committing – with impunity – of war crimes and crimes against humanity, both in the past and ongoing to today.
On November 16, 2020, a group of plaintiffs from the hundreds of thousands of victims of the Balfour Declaration and the British Mandate’s brutal military-occupation practices were brought forward by Mr. Masri. He asserts that turning to the Palestinian national judiciary was in no way futile or in vain. After a delay of 103 years, Palestinians are launching their message from Palestine, telling the world that they have not forgotten, nor will they forget, and they will pursue anyone who violates their rights. Mr. Masri adds that they are heading to the Palestinian judiciary to strengthen the sovereignty of their nascent state that has been recognized by more than 140 countries worldwide and that joined the United Nations General Assembly as an observer state in addition to being part of numerous international agreements that allow it to exercise universal jurisdiction against gross violations of human rights. These crimes are not subject to the statute of limitations nor are they limited by the judicial immunity of states.
The Nablus Court of First Instance held three sessions during which it listened to technical experts and the pleading of lawyer Nael Al-Houh, the head of the legal team, and the testimony of witnesses and plaintiffs who have suffered and were subjected to displacement, their relatives tortured or killed during the British Mandate. Hajj Mohammad Jadallah (Abu Nihad), 103 years old, stood as one of the most notable witnesses, a living contemporary of the military occupation and British Mandate over Palestine.
The Nablus Court of First Instance decided during its last session to set February 21, 2021 as the date when it will announce the verdict of this hearing. Mr. Masri considers this day to be historic and predicts that a historic judgement will be issued in the name of the Palestinian people to condemn the British government, confirming that under its auspices and patronage Palestine was looted and handed over to the Zionist movement.
Mr. Masri notes further, “On this day we will announce the details of our legal action to be brought before the British judiciary, as we have begun to consult the world’s leading lawyers and human rights defenders. We will move forward to the British judiciary once the Palestinian judiciary has defended our human value, national and human rights, and justice.”
Mr. Masri will send a message to the British people, explaining that this move is not directed against Britain or the British people who embody civilization and ethics, rather it is an act to defend human values, the principles of human rights, and the rights of the Palestinian people who are still suffering daily as a result of the Balfour Declaration. In the message, Mr. Masri strongly condemns the statement of former British Prime Minister Theresa May who on the centenary of the declaration stated that she was proud of it, forgetting the thousands of innocent people who were killed as a consequence. He also stresses and clarifies the fact that the problem of the Palestinian people is not with Jewish people around the world, as Palestinians reject the Zionist racist occupation that has no connection to Judaism as a divine religion. Mr. Masri states that he expects all human rights organizations and people of conscience, in Britain and worldwide, to support this project.