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.”


Scientific study finds asylum seekers boosting European economies

Updated 21 June 2018
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Scientific study finds asylum seekers boosting European economies

  • Asylum seekers contributed most to a country’s gross domestic product after three to seven years, the research found
  • The findings come amid a rise of anti-immigrant sentiment across Europe, where immigration peaked in 2015 with the arrival of more than a million refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa

NEW YORK: Asylum seekers moving to Europe have raised their adopted nations’ economic output, lowered unemployment and not placed a burden on public finances, scientists said on Wednesday.
An analysis of economic and migration data for the last three decades found asylum seekers added to gross domestic products and boosted net tax revenues by as much as 1 percent, said a study published in Science Advances by French economists.
The findings come amid a rise of anti-immigrant sentiment across Europe, where immigration peaked in 2015 with the arrival of more than a million refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa.
An annual report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees released on Tuesday showed the global number of refugees grew by a record 2.9 million in 2017 to 25.4 million.
The research from 1985 to 2015 looked at asylum seekers — migrants who demonstrate a fear of persecution in their homeland in order to be resettled in a new country.
“The cliché that international migration is associated with economic ‘burden’ can be dispelled,” wrote the scientists from the French National Center for Scientific Research, the University of Clermont-Auvergne and Paris-Nanterre University.
The research analyzed data from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Asylum seekers contributed most to a country’s gross domestic product after three to seven years, the research found. They marginally lowered unemployment rates and had a near-zero impact of public finances, it said.
Greece, where the bulk of migrants fleeing civil war in Syria have entered Europe, was not included because fiscal data before 1990 was unavailable, it said.
Chad Sparber, an associate professor of economics at the US-based Colgate University, said the study was a reminder there is no convincing economic case against humanitarian migration.
But he warned against dismissing the views of residents who might personally feel a negative consequence of immigration.
“There are people who do lose or suffer,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“Immigration on balance is good,” he said. “But I still recognize that it’s not true for every person.”