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On 7 November, in London’s famous Royal Albert Hall, there’s to be “a unique event drawing Christians and Jews together in celebration of the centenary of the Balfour Declaration and all that it led to.”
Christians will be reaching out to support the Jewish community and the state of Israel, or so the organisers claim.
“Our vision to stage such a big event at the Royal Albert Hall is ambitious and we recognise our reliance on God to enable every aspect of it. The evening’s programme will follow the history of God’s work through the Balfour Declaration that culminated in the independence of the modern state of Israel. We will use dance, film, song and drama sketches to illustrate how God used both Christians and Jews to fulfil (sic) the prophesied return of the Jewish people from exile to their ancient biblical homeland Israel,” says the blurb.
And it adds:
Christian leaders will read statements that will reflect Christians’ desire to…
Reconnect with the spiritual heritage of godly men who espoused the restoration of Israel to her Land;
Remember the Balfour Declaration and the Jewish-Christian partnerships that made it a reality;
Recognise the failure of Britain to fulfill the intent of the Balfour Declaration through the mandate for Palestine;
Rededicate ourselves as Christians to support Israel and the Jewish community.
And the Royal Albert Hall, we are reminded, is where Lord Balfour celebrated with the Jewish community the granting to Britain of the Mandate for Palestine.
The rest of us, of course, remember Arthur Balfour as the Tory twit whose lamebrain ‘Declaration’ made it possible for Zionists who have no ancestral links to the Holy Land to dispossess, lock up and abuse Palestinians who do.
It was God’s work, we’re told. So that’s all right, then. And while we recover our composure we may well ask what kind of warped Christians dreamed up this Albert Hall caper, how the Balfour Declaration and its sickening legacy could possible have been “God’s work”, and how many “godly men” were among the perpetrators.
Then let’s cut to another declaration — The Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism, a joint statement by the heads of Palestinian Christian churches, which:
rejects Christian Zionist doctrines as false teaching that corrupts the biblical message;
rejects the alliance of Christian Zionist leaders with elements in the governments of Israel and the United States; and,
rejects the teachings of Christian Zionism that advance racial exclusivity and perpetual war.
Thankfully, a sermon recently delivered in Westminster Abbey by Michael Doe, Preacher of Gray’s Inn, added some important context missing from the Royal Albert Hall’s promo patter:
The Balfour Declaration made way for the creation of Israel. It also said that nothing should be done ‘which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine’. We British who made the Declaration have an unfinished responsibility to ensure its implementation.
To be precise Balfour’s pledge said “It being clearly understood” that nothing should be done to prejudice the rights of non-Jews. What’s not to understand? But that bit was conveniently forgotten within 30 years and is shrugged off today.
Who is behind this cringe-making celebration? Balfour 100. Who is behind Balfour 100? It’s hard to know. The Jewish Leadership Council’s website says that the Balfour 100 steering committee is comprised of 23 British-Jewish communal and Israel advocacy organisations but doesn’t name them. Among those, however, will be a number of fake Christians who are happy to stooge for the Zionists’ vile ambitions.
These pseuds have apparently ignored the cry for help issued only months ago by the National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine to the World Council of Churches and the entire ecumenical movement. It was signed by over 30 organisations in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza and can be read in full here.
We are still suffering from 100 years of injustice and oppression that were inflicted on the Palestinian people beginning with the unlawful Balfour declaration…. A hundred years later and there is still no justice! Discrimination and inequality, military occupation and systematic oppression are the rule…. Despite all the promises, endless summits, UN resolutions, religious and lay leader’s callings – Palestinians are still yearning for their freedom and independence, and seeking justice and equality.
The churches’ message ends with these ominous words:
Things are beyond urgent. We are on the verge of a catastrophic collapse…. This could be our last chance to achieve a just peace. As a Palestinian Christian community, this could be our last opportunity to save the Christian presence in this land.
The Royal Albert Hall was built by Queen Victoria to commemorate her beloved husband and consort Prince Albert. I’ll wager the idea of the flag of a rogue foreign military power fluttering from this fine building, or displayed inside, would have both of them spinning in their marbled vault at Frogmore.
And if Theresa May accompanies her guest Bibi Netanyahu to the Albert Hall shindig she’ll hand him and his cruel regime a huge propaganda victory.
According to a report circulating unofficially in Arabic, the latest in a sixty-nine year history of proposals to resolve the western Zionist invasion of Palestine (AKA the Israeli-Palestinian “conflict”) is about to see the light of day. It claims Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu originated the proposal and that secret deliberations have been underway for more than five months.
Netanyahu has now presented the proposal to the US, which made some changes and agreed to promote it. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will carry the plan, called “the Agreement of the Century” to Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait for review and discussion.
The proposal has 21 points, but the main provisions are that the West Bank will be federated (or re-federated) with Jordan, and the Gaza Strip with Egypt. Together, they will be known as the Palestinian Confederation, ostensibly converting the Palestinian “Authority” into a national government, although it is already widely recognized as such and although it will not have any of the authority or sovereignty that nation states are deemed to have under international law.
Israel will govern Jewish settlements directly and Jerusalem is excluded from the proposal, for resolution at a later time. The primary function of Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority, therefore, will be to take over the security functions currently administered by the Israeli armed forces; i.e., to protect Israel and repress Palestinians. As they say in Israel, “When you have a dirty job, give it to an Arab.”
Other provisions concern development of infrastructure, international guarantees, and conversion of Hamas into a purely political party while integrating its military wing into the Palestinian security forces. The borders will be based on the armistice lines as of June 4th, 1967, with some territorial swaps. Refugees will be permitted to “return” to the West Bank and Gaza, even if it is not the home from which they were displaced. This is not going to be accepted by expatriate refugees in Lebanon, Syria and other countries, but they have always been disenfranchised in all proposals, and this one is no exception.
The biggest unanswered question is the status of Jerusalem. Will the Arab leaders accept an agreement that has no assurances at all with respect to Jerusalem? This is hard to imagine, and it was, in fact, the major stumbling block to an agreement at the Camp David Summit in 2000.
Another major unknown is what happens to the West Bank areas designated A, B and C in the Oslo agreement. Area A is the only one of the three where Oslo grants full administrative and security control to the Palestinian Authority, and it comprises less than 15% of the total area of the West Bank, itself only 18% of historic Palestine. Israel is unlikely to hand B and C over to Palestinian authority and limit the settlements to their current footprints, without prospect of outward expansion or new settlements. More likely, they will insist upon continuing the current arrangement, allowing Israel to continue expanding the settlements indefinitely. This is also unlikely to be acceptable to the Arabs and to the Palestinian people.
What do the parties to the agreement expect to gain from it?
Israel wants to rid itself of the Palestinians. It wants the land but not the people. It also wants to stop being considered an occupier of someone else’s land. In 1948 it achieved this by massive ethnic cleansing and genocide. In 1967 it used the same methods but was somewhat less successful except on the Golan Heights, where it expelled 94% of the population. Since then, expulsions have been gradual and slower, except for the 2006 expulsion of a million people in south Lebanon, which was subsequently reversed by the victory of the Hezbollah resistance.
If the above assumptions about areas A, B and C are correct, a signed agreement means that Israel concedes nothing at all and will be able to continue with its territorial ambitions. However, it will rid itself of the Palestinians by farming out the occupation to Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority. The agreement also removes the teeth (such as they are) of Hamas, and makes Israel appear to be a “peacemaker” with a “generous proposal”.
Mahmoud Abbas’s interest is to become the president of a “real” (though not sovereign) country, recognized universally, even by Israel. He also gets Gaza in the bargain, as well as some handsome development funds that will improve the economy, at least in the short run. The recently announced “unity government” between Hamas and Fatah can be seen as a prelude to such an agreement, and a means of strengthening Abbas’s hand in the negotiations (which is why Israel is not very happy about it).
Hamas gains the least of any of the parties, but Israel’s decade-long siege on Gaza is now so debilitating that they are possibly loathe to dash the hopes of their people for relieving their isolation. They are under tremendous pressure to improve the intolerable living conditions, and may not wish to be seen as spoilers.
The Arab monarchies and Egypt want to be rid of the problem and to get on with other concerns, chiefly their rivalry and potential conflict with Iran. In this case they would like to be able to collaborate and ally themselves more openly with a powerful Israel, which the agreement will legitimate. Iraq and Syria, who are friendly to Iran, are not currently on Abbas’s itinerary, which underscores that their views are not likely to be given consideration.
The US also gets a Middle East peace agreement that has eluded eleven administrations since 1948, and which Trump desperately needs to bolster his flagging image on the domestic front. The agreement would also strengthen the hand of both the US and Israel to undertake aggressive action against Iran and destroy it as a regional power, which is an ambition of both countries and the conservative Arab regimes.
All of this assumes that the agreement will be approved. That is still a very big “if”. But Israel is also prepared for failure, which also works to their advantage. In that case Israel will do what it has always done: blame the Palestinians for refusing to be complicit in their own demise. They will then give their military a free hand to commit another pogrom, known in Israel as “mowing the grass”.
In fact, Israel may pull another plan off the shelf, one using a more direct means of ridding themselves of the Palestinians. They learned in Lebanon that they could create a million refugees in ten days, and thereby clear the land of its inhabitants. Instead of “mowing the grass”, this would be more akin to “scorching the earth”, which is also a definition of the term “holocaust”.
Source: “The Agreement of the Century”
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