Balfour ‘unresolved issue’ fuels radicalization in Britain

British Prime Minister Theresa May and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will dine together next week to celebrate the centenary of the Balfour Declaration. The meeting has angered some Palestinians. (Reuters)
Updated 31 October 2017
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Balfour ‘unresolved issue’ fuels radicalization in Britain

LONDON: The unresolved legacy of the Balfour Declaration is contributing toward radicalization in modern Britain, according to the former British consul general to Jerusalem.
The UK should uphold its commitment to helping to achieve a two-state solution promised in the Balfour Declaration, if only to prevent radicalization at home, said Vincent Fean, the British consul general to Jerusalem between 2010 and 2014, during a Chatham House discussion in London this week.
He said: “I firmly believe that this unresolved issue contributes to radicalization in our own country among the Muslim community and if only for that self-interested reason we should think of doing something about it.”
Emphasizing the need for a change of international direction, he criticized “the practice we’ve had of leaving the strong to negotiate with the weak,” and warned that, unless the issue is addressed, a two-state solution will be unachievable.
“Israel is creating facts on the ground which will make a two-state solution impossible; many say it’s already happened,” he said, outlining two things the UK could do.
“We could, and I think should, validate that second state by recognition of the State of Palestine on ‘67 lines and uphold international law properly – not just talk about it – with consequences for whoever seeks to destroy the outcome of two states.”
The event, called “The Balfour Declaration: Palestine, Israel and Britain One Hundred Years,” brought together Palestinian, Israeli and British commentators.
The speakers also attempted to dissect the foreign policy intention of Downing Street at the time and that of Balfour himself.
Yaacov Yadgar, a professor of Israeli studies at University of Oxford, said:
“Balfour, in his conviction that the Jews belong in Palestine, was opposed to their emigration to the United Kingdom”
UN diplomat and former Algerian minister Lakhdar Brahimi said that “Lord Balfour’s declaration was intended to serve Britain’s interest first and foremost.”
In 1917, Britain did not really have a foreign policy, only a national one, he added.
He said: “Israel is a nuclear power, with a booming economy, a flourishing culture and is a leader in cutting edge science and technology. In contrast the Palestinians, those still in their shrinking homeland and those pushed into exile are suffering systematic oppression, injustice and humiliation.”
On Thursday, UK Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt reaffirmed Britain’s commitment to a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as the shared capital.
Speaking during a debate on the Balfour Declaration in Westminster Hall, Burt said the UK has “unfinished business,” until lasting peace is achieved.
British Prime Minister Theresa May will mark the occasion of the Balfour Declaration centenary on Nov. 2 at a dinner with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Speaking in the House of Commons earlier this week, she said: “We are proud of the role that we played in the creation of the State of Israel, and we will certainly mark the centenary with pride.”


Major powers, Iran meet to salvage nuclear deal without US

European Union Foreign Affairs and Security Policy High Representative Federica Mogherini is seen at the start of a meeting on Libya hosted by France's Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on September 24, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 5 min 51 sec ago
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Major powers, Iran meet to salvage nuclear deal without US

  • Highlighting just how difficult it will be for the Europeans to come up with concrete solutions, French state-owned bank Bpifrance on Monday abandoned its plan to set up a financial mechanism to aid French companies trading with Iran

UNITED NATIONS: Iran has ample reason to stay in the 2015 nuclear deal despite the US withdrawal and the remaining parties on Monday will discuss ways to blunt the effect of impending US sanctions on Tehran, the European Union’s foreign policy chief said.
Speaking before a gathering of senior officials from Britain, China, Germany, Russia and Iran, the EU’s Federica Mogherini made the case for Iran remaining in the deal that US President Donald Trump abandoned on May 8.
“An essential part of the agreement and its implementation regards Iran having the possibility of benefiting from the lifting of sanctions, and this is exactly why we are discussing tonight, operational concrete steps that we can put in place,” Mogherini told reporters before the talks at the United Nations.
“Iran has good arguments and good reasons to remain in the agreement. ... the more operational decisions we will manage to take and ... implement, I believe the more Iran will have reasons to do,” she added.
The European Union, however, has so far failed to devise a workable legal framework to shield its companies from US sanctions that go into effect in November and that, among other things, seek to choke off Iran’s oil sales, diplomats said.
Highlighting just how difficult it will be for the Europeans to come up with concrete solutions, French state-owned bank Bpifrance on Monday abandoned its plan to set up a financial mechanism to aid French companies trading with Iran.
The crux of the deal, negotiated over almost two years by the administration of former US President Barack Obama, was that Iran would restrain its nuclear program in return for the relaxation of sanctions that had crippled its economy.
Trump considered it flawed because it did not include curbs on Iran’s ballistic missiles program or its support for proxies in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq.
The United States began reimposing economic sanctions this summer and the most draconian measures, which seek to force Iran’s major customers to stop buying its oil, resume Nov. 5.
Their impending return has contributed to a slide in Iran’s currency. The rial has lost about two-thirds of its value this year, hitting a record low against the US dollar this month.
There are limits to what the EU can do to counter the oil sanctions, under which Washington can cut off from the US financial system any bank that facilitates an oil transaction with Iran.