Beit Ommar Commemorates Balfour Declaration, Burns Effigies of Zionist Leaders

6 November 2010

Demonstrators in Beit Ommar commemorated the 93rd anniversary of the Balfour Declaration today by burning effigies of Zionist leaders. A crowd of around 40 protesters marched toward the illegal Karmei Tsur settlement waving Palestinian flags and carrying large banners denouncing the Balfour Declaration and the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.

Protesters gave speeches condemning Balfour’s betrayal of the Palestinian people and burned cardboard boxes with pictures of Arthur Balfour, Theodor Herzl, Golda Meir, Moshe Dayan, Ariel Sharon and Benyamin Netanyahu.

Soldiers began to shoot tear gas at demonstrators toward the end of the demonstration, after journalists and international accompaniers had left. A group of about ten soldiers lurked in the trees behind the demonstration in an attempt to intimidate the protesters, but no arrests were made.

The Balfour Declaration was a promise made by British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Zionist leader Baron Rothschild in 1917. The declaration states that the British government would help facilitate “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” The vague term “national home” was taken by Zionists as a green light to begin building a Jewish state in Palestine. The Balfour Declaration is seen by Palestinians as emblematic of the international community’s betrayal of the Palestinian people.

This week’s demonstration was the latest in a series of weekly demonstrations against the illegal Karmei Tsur settlement, which is built on Beit Ommar land. In the past month 15 people, ages 15-28, have been arrested for participating in the demonstrations, the vast majority of whom are still in custody.