Magazine article The Spectator

A Partisan Presentation

Magazine article The Spectator

A Partisan Presentation

Article excerpt

Sir: Last week Melanie Phillips attacked the West's approach to the Palestinians as deluded ('Gaza: another front in Iran's war', 23 June). But if her analysis carried sway it would only reinforce the hand of those who see no point in negotiations.

Phillips's view is based on a partisan presentation of history. The 'international agreement' she refers to is the formal assumption of Mandate Palestine by Britain under the auspices of the League of Nations. Article six of the Mandate set terms of Jewish immigration 'while ensuring that the rights and position of the other sections of the population are not prejudiced'. This echoed the Balfour Declaration of 1917: 'His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing nonJewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.' The property deeds and keys held by so many Palestinian families are testimony that Britain and the international community remains in breach of this undertaking. …

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