In light of next Monday’s vote in the UK House of Commons on recognising Palestinian statehood, my thoughts have turned to the Balfour Declaration which created this mess in the first place. Not that I have any positive expectations for next week’s vote. Notwithstanding that all of the current troubles were predicted when the Declaration was crafted, the current UK government has continued the longstanding British tradition of unequivocal support for Israel, and blaming the Palestinians for their own statelessness, occupation and the apartheid system of checkpoints, blockades, house seizures, detention without trial, and daily harassment in which they live.

In fact, Israeli exceptionialism means that the Palestinians are the first occupied and stateless people who are required by the ‘international community’ to safeguard their occupiers. After all, no link is ever made between Israel’s role as a brutal occupier and its security concerns. Instead we are instructed to parrot the script of an alternative reality in which causes don’t have effects, and some human beings are not afforded the right to insist on their own humanity.

Recently, an Israeli politician referred to Palestinian ‘self-genocide’, a semantic perversion that could only have sprung forth from the collective narcissism that animates the hasbara lexicon. Local pathologies aside, the silence of Western governments, coupled with media outlets like The New York Times and the BBC which energetically massage facts and statistics in order to obscure the exigencies of Israeli expansionism while promulgating the myth of the country’s democracy, ensure that such contortions of reason, decency and international law remain unchallenged. Consequently, I’m not holding my breath for moral or political leadership on Palestinian statehood from the UK.

Still, the Balfour Declaration is remarkable both for the events it sets in motion and for what it foresees. Lord Balfour stated unequivocally that while provision would be made for a ‘national home’ for the Jewish people, ‘nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.’

Moreover, Arab opposition was clear from the start, with the Muslim-Christian Association writing to the military governor in 1918 ‘…we always sympathized profoundly with the persecuted Jews and their misfortunes in other countries… but there is wide difference between such sympathy and the acceptance of such a nation…ruling over us and disposing of our affairs.’ That’s my emphasis, by the way. Whether it’s a state or a home, those ‘existing non-Jewish communities’ knew perfectly well who would rule the roost in the New Jerusalem.

(The authors might be saddened to know how little regard their Israeli brothers and sisters have for their ‘misfortunes.’ The chilling hatred for Palestinians in contemporary Israeli society has been amply documented elsewhere, although the journalist David Sheen‘s Russell Tribunal testimony about the incitement to genocide in current Israeli discourse provides a quick primer. Or you could read Richard Cohen of The Washington Post who merrily extols ‘Genocide for a better world.’)

Just four years later, Winston Churchill wrote this to Herbert Samuel, the British High Commissioner of Palestine (my emphasis):

‘In both Houses of Parliament there is growing movement of hostility, against Zionist policy in Palestine… I do not attach undue importance to this movement, but it is increasingly difficult to meet the argument that it is unfair to ask the British taxpayer, already overwhelmed with taxation, to bear the cost of imposing on Palestine an unpopular policy’.

And yet in more than 90 years since, the Zionist narrative has prevailed to the extent that these entirely predictable consequences have been persuasively repackaged as Arab bloodlust and Islamic fundamentalism, while successive governments in this country and the US have born the cost of this ‘imposition’ with barely a peep, and the ballot box proxy of that same long-suffering taxpayer.

I read not long ago in Haaretz that the Israeli regime doesn’t give a hoot what we goyim have to say; it’s what we do that counts. On statehood for Palestine I’m guessing they can rest easy, for the lesson of history is that we will choose to do nothing at all, and then applaud ourselves for our ‘diplomacy’.

Here’s more of what the media don’t call news in Palestine.

1. Olive Harvest 2014: Settlers torch trees in Nahalin via @stopthewall

On Wednesday the 8 of October settlers torched 30 olive trees in the village of Nahalin, west off Bethlehem. Residents from the village say that it was a group of settlers from Beitar Illit.

2. Tuesday: Israel bars building materials from Gaza via @jncatron

The Israeli authorities have delayed indefinitely the entry of 60 truckloads of building materials into the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian official said.

The move came despite Israeli “promises” to allow the entry of the construction supplies into the blockaded enclave on Tuesday through Kerem Shalom crossing, he added.

3. Wednesday: Construction materials to be allowed into Gaza via @RMicheleGreen

A final agreement has been reached between the Palestinians, Israel and the UN to allow the entry of construction materials into the blockaded Gaza Strip, a Palestinian government source said Wednesday.

Yes, that’s right. Are you confused? I’m confused. Imagine how Gazans feel.

4. Israel issues more eviction notices via @RMicheleGreen

Israeli Occupation authorities distributed yesterday Wednesday, eviction threats to 19 Palestinian families in the area of the Northern Jordan valleys, in order to use it for military purposes… [T]his was not the first time evicting the valley residents, saying that hundreds of families were evicted last year as well.

5. Clashes erupt at Al-Aqsa over visit by Jewish ‘extremists’ @jncatron

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Clashes broke out at occupied Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound Wednesday as dozens of Palestinian youths protested against Jews visiting the flashpoint holy site ahead of a religious feast, Israeli police said.

The site is the scene of frequent clashes between police and Palestinian youths, who object to what they see as an attempted Jewish and Israeli takeover of the site that is administered by Jordanian and Palestinian Muslim authorities.

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