1• Presidency at the centennial of the Balfour Declaration: We call on the British government to apologize and recognize the state of Palestine

The Palestinian presidency called on Wednesday on the British government to publicly apologize to the Palestinian people and recognize the state of Palestine.

The Presidency said in an official statement: “November 2 marks the centennial of the disastrous Balfour Declaration, through which the British government gave Jews of the world in 1917 a national homeland in Palestine being aware that Palestine is owned by another people, the Palestinian people, in its colonial policy, the British Government did not refer in this false promise to the original and legitimate owners of the country, but considered them as sects with civil and religious rights, and did not refer to their national and political rights.

The statement added: because of this promise, which later became part of the Mandate Charter and the Charter of the League of Nations, The Palestinian people suffered a number of disasters, most notably the 1948 Nakba, which displaced most of the country's indigenous population from their homes. Since then, the suffering of the Palestinian people did not stop, whether inside the rest of the land of Palestine, which is now also 50 years since its occupation since 1967 or in the refugee camps of exile.

The statement said that the British government that issued the Balfour Declaration and the subsequent British governments, including the government of Her Excellency Theresa May, bear the primary responsibility for the displacement and suffering of the Palestinian people. We therefore reiterate our call upon the British government to publicly apologize to the Palestinian people for issuing the Balfour Declaration and to bear the consequences of making this promise by compensating the Palestinian people politically, materially and morally, recognizing the State of Palestine and working to end the occupation from its land, as Britain sponsored the establishment of the occupying Power, Israel on the land of Palestine. (Al Haya)

2• Lord Balfour: No apology and Jerusalem must be subjected to UN supervision

Lord Roderick Balfour defended the "Balfour Declaration" issued by his father's uncle, Lord Arthur Balfour in 1917, and said it was not a "promise" that Britain would establish a state for the Jews in Palestine. It was a "message" expressing "solidarity" to establish a homeland for them, provided that the rights of non-Jews in the "Holy Land" in Palestine are not affected. He stressed the need to look at the "Balfour Declaration" from a historical point of view that takes into account the conditions of the First World War, where "Turks supported the German... and lost." He rejected calls for Britain to issue an "apology" for the "Balfour Declaration," saying Jerusalem should be a "world heritage site" under the supervision of the United Nations.

In an interview with Asharq al-Awsat on the occasion of the centennial of the Balfour Declaration today, Lord Rodrick Balfour responded to the Palestinians' complaint that the declaration was unfair to their rights by granting their land to the Jews: "I fully understand the feelings in the modern world about the Declaration, but if we go back to 1917, the Ottoman Empire ruled non-Jews and Jews in Palestine until the end of First World War, so this was not their land (Palestinians) even then, nor were they called Palestinians at the time ... I think they were called Arabs ... So I think that a large part of the current problem is the result of a modern concept (for historical matters)".

He added: "What I want to say is that there was a war in that part of the world in that era, the Turks made a mistake, supported the Germans, the enemies of the Allies, especially the British and the French, and lost the war ... So we expelled the Ottoman Empire and became the actual rulers of that land. We have always believed that we are good at managing the land we are governing, and history says that we were very good at that, but of course there are those who would say that we were good at exploiting the land we govern, but a fair estimate must acknowledge that we have brought the rule of law and democracy everywhere we colonized."(Quds Net)

3• Al-Ahmad: Reconciliation is going well and work at the Rafah crossing will be on a daily and regular basis

Azzam al-Ahmad, member of Fatah's central committee, expressed his surprise at the comments made by Hamas politburo member Musa Abu Marzuk, calling it negative.

Al-Ahmad said in a press statement: "I do not know what is behind Abu Marzuk's tweet, especially since things in the delivery of the crossings were fine." Adding: “I asked Abu Marzuk about his statement in Cairo in front of all those in the meeting, sometimes talking about the resistance's weapon, I asked him are you angry about reconciliation? don’t you want to agree?

"I have doubts of some leaders that they do not want reconciliation to take place. Some statements by Hamas leaders are negative," he added. "Even if there are comments on some statements, things are moving positively and irreversibly." (Saman)

4• Aboul Gheit: The Balfour Declaration represents the highest point of the international bias against the Palestinians

Secretary-General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, affirmed that the Balfour Declaration and its undertakings represent the highest point of the international bias against the Palestinian people and constitute an embodiment of indifference to their historical rights in the land of Palestine.

In a statement on Wednesday, Minister Mahmoud Afifi stockman of the Secretary General, said that the Secretary-General, during a meeting between the Palestine delegate to the Arab League and its ambassador in Cairo Jamal Al-Shobaki, who ended his mission in Egypt after years of working in the service of the Palestinian cause, “This declaration should never be an occasion to celebrate or be a reason to be proud or boastful because it is a flagrant violation of the rights of an entire people”.

He noted that it was expected and hoped that Britain would mark the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration with declaring its recognition of the independent state of Palestine on the borders of June 4, 1967, as the original British meaning of the Balfour Declaration was achieved by the establishment of the State of Israel but without becoming a state of equal rights for all its citizens, but a focus of conflict and tension in the region as a whole.

He added that the Secretary-General, on the other hand, felt satisfaction and appreciation of the feelings of all Britons who were not proud of the occasion and called upon their Government to seek full implementation of the undertakings and the immediate recognition of the independent State of Palestine, especially in light of its historical responsibility.(Paltimes)

5• Al-Hamdallah: We received the "Abu Salem" and "Beit Hanoun" crossings

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami al-Hamdallah said Wednesday that his government received the Karm Abu Slaem (Kerem Shalom) and Beit Hanoun crossings in the Gaza Strip.

"Things are going well, we have received the Karm Abu Salem and Beit Hanoun crossings," al-Hamdallah told reporters at the headquarters of the Council of Ministers in Ramallah. He added: "Things are still going well, and we hope to open the Rafah crossing as it was before June 15, 2007."

On the impact of the Palestinian Authority's receiving the crossings, Al-Hamdallah said that this will "affect the economic situation," referring to the decision to "stop the collecting illegal taxes in Gaza", which was decided by the government this morning.  (Safa)

6• Euro-Mediterranean Observatory: Balfour Declaration establishes a series of violations against Palestinians

The Balfour Declaration, which laid the foundation for Israel's establishment on Palestinian land, "has, on the other hand, established a series of violations and robbed the rights of the Palestinians over a hundred years”, the Euro-Mediterranean Observatory for Human Rights said on Wednesday.

The Geneva-based observatory said in a statement marking the centennial of the Balfour Declaration that falls on Sunday that Britain was responsible for the violations that were linked to the fulfillment of the declaration on the ground at a time when Palestine was under the British Mandate.

The observatory warned that the British mandate was required to manage the affairs of the country in accordance with the interests of its population, but Britain, on the contrary, promoted Jewish immigration to Palestine, transferring Jewish immigrants to the land of the indigenous people, selling large tracts of government land and supporting them with weapons.(Safa)

7• Israel prevents an Amnesty International employee from entering the West Bank

The Israeli occupation authorities have banned an American employee working for Amnesty International from entering the West Bank, officials said Wednesday, as part of an effort to track and block activists who boycott and criticize the Jewish state for its occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Amnesty International and Israeli officials said that Raed Jarrar, advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa division of the United States, was banned from entering the occupied West Bank on Monday.

The Israeli Interior Ministry spokeswoman confirmed that the office of Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan had recommended that Jarrar be prevented from entering the West Bank on the background of his "boycott, divestment and sanctions" movement.

For its part, Amnesty International said the ban against Jarrar was "apparently in retaliation against the organization for its human rights work."(Al Quds)

8• "Organization for Islamic Cooperation" calls on Britain and the world to recognize the state of Palestine

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) called on Wednesday on the British government and the international community to fully recognize the state of Palestine and bring justice to the Palestinian people and enable them to regain their legitimate national rights. This came in a statement issued by the organization today on the occasion of the first centennial anniversary of the issuance of the Balfour Declaration, which falls today (Thursday).

The statement called on the British government to take constructive positions under the historical, legal, political and moral responsibility it bears with the international community to end the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

The organization considered that the declaration of former British Foreign Minister Arthur Balfour to establish a "national homeland for the Jews in the land of Palestine" issued by "those who do not own to those who do not deserve," which marked the beginning of historical injustice, which continues to affect the Palestinian people, who suffered decades of occupation and persecution, displacement and ethnic cleansing and deprivation of their legitimate rights. (Al Quds)

9• Ismail Haniyeh: Israel will not celebrate 100 years to come

Head of Hamas' political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, said in a video on Wednesday that Israel would not celebrate another hundred years of the Balfour Declaration. According to right-wing Midan website, Haniyeh's remarks came in a video broadcast by Hamas marking the centennial of the Balfour Declaration.

According to the website, Haniyeh stressed that there is no future for Israel and that any initiative that detracts from Palestinian rights will fail, stressing the importance of formulating a national strategy based on unity and resistance and strengthening the Palestinian presence in the international arena.(Al Hadath)

10• Maliki calls on China to take the initiative and realize its vision of peace in the Middle East

Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyad al-Maliki urged the People's Republic of China to take the initiative and work towards achieving its vision of peace in the Middle East. He stressed that ending the occupation and solving the Palestinian issue is the solution.

During his reception Wednesday evening, Malki welcomed the Chinese envoy to the Middle East peace process, Kong Xiao Xing, Al-Maliki congratulated Xing on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s victory in the elections on October 25th and his renewal for a second five-year term. He also briefed him on the political, economic and field developments in the Palestinian arena and the international efforts to realize the two states vision in accordance with the relevant international resolutions.

Maliki blamed the government of Israel for the suspension of the peace process and the deterioration of the situation, for its practices in defiance of resolutions of Security Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations. (Al Haya)

11• The European Union is ready to deploy its mission at the crossings

The European Union welcomed the handing over of responsibility for the Gaza Strip crossings to the Palestinian Authority, calling it an "important step in the implementation of the Cairo Agreement" signed by Fatah and Hamas recently.

"The handover of the crossings will allow the Palestinian Authority to resume its responsibilities in Gaza and achieve Palestinian reconciliation," said Maya Kusigansik, spokeswoman for the EU's High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini.

The European Union reiterated its readiness to fully support the efforts to restore unity between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank "under one and legitimate leadership, the Palestinian Authority." It also expressed his readiness to redeploy the European Border Mission in Rafah "if requested by the parties as soon as circumstances permit."(Maan)

12• After his provocative remarks about settlements... Head of the Israeli Labor Party retreats: I am with the "two-state solution"!

Israel's Labor Party leader Avi Gabbai confirmed on Wednesday his support for a two-state solution after his controversial statement that Israel could keep settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem under a peace deal with the Palestinians.

"I believe in a two-state solution for two peoples," Gabbai said at a conference of the Israeli institute for regional foreign policy in Jerusalem. He added: "I do not know any other solutions ... We have to start negotiations." He stressed that any peace agreement with the Palestinians should involve countries in the region. (Amad)

13• Palestinian official to Israel’s channel 1: America initiated moving the Palestinian reconciliation file

A senior Palestinian official said on Wednesday evening that the United States had initiated the Palestinian reconciliation between the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and Hamas, not Egypt. Israel’s channel 1 reported.

"It is Kouchner, son-in-law and adviser of US President Donald Trump who initiated reconciliation for the return of the PA to Gaza," the channel quoted the source as saying, adding that the United States had offered to hold a regional summit to succeed and support reconciliation.

The source said that the Palestinian president had been informed from the outset that Kouchner is the active party behind the Egyptian role, which was led by Sisi, with the participation of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan, but the Authority refused the participation of the UAE because of their sponsorship of leader Mohammed Dahlan, considered by the PA as Abu Mazen’s bigger rival and has a subversive role.

The source pointed out that the United States pledged to get Dahlan out of the UAE, but Abu Mazen rejected this proposal and was determined that the UAE will not take part in the process. (Amad)

14• Mladenov: the transfer of crossings to the PA facilitates the lifting of closures and support the reconstruction and growth of Gaza

The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nikolai Mladenov, welcomed the return of the crossings in the Gaza Strip to the control of the Palestinian National Authority.

"I welcome the full return of the Gaza crossings under the control of the Palestinian Authority, and this is an important development in the implementation of the Palestinian-Palestinian agreement signed in Cairo on October 12," Mladenov said in a press statement. .

He added that "the return of the crossings will facilitate the lifting of closures, while addressing legitimate Israeli security concerns, and increase international support for the reconstruction of Gaza and its growth, stability and prosperity."

"I take this opportunity to remind all factions in Gaza of the importance of maintaining security and ending armed activities that undermine peace and security for both Palestinians and Israelis," he said. (Safa)

15• Shaul's mother questions the death of her son

The mother of the soldier captive by the Qassam Brigades, Zahava Shaul, has questioned the death of her son, soldier Oron Shaul, saying that the way his death was approved is questionable.

Hebrew newspaper "Maariv" quoted mother of the soldier as saying that she met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about a month ago, and asked for a record of the meeting of army officers who recognized the death of her son, where Netanyahu promised to examine the matter.

She said she wrote her son's death certificate states that he had died on the assumption that he had not received medical treatment and asked, "It is written in his file that he was killed by the hypothesis that he did not receive medical treatment, so what does this mean? Either he died or not! ". (Safa)


• Coordinator Elias Dueis, on the British delegation that walked for 147 days to reach Jerusalem to apologize to the Palestinians for the Balfour Declaration

Q: On this occasion, what is the message of this delegation and the activities they have lined up?

This is their last day after 147 days of walking. Their letter was clear – an apology for the Balfour Declaration for the suffering it caused to the Palestinian people and a clear request to the British government to change its policies towards the Palestinians by recognizing the state of Palestine and to restore all of the people’s rights. They sent a letter to British Prime Minister Teresa May, making these demands, including the stories they heard so far from the Palestinians. they also called on her not to celebrate the declaration today.

Q: What kind of echo has this visit had at the level of British and European public opinion?

I think it has resonated very loudly, not just in Britain but in the European countries they walked through. They crossed around 11 countries and in each country they would convey the same message about the Palestinians. Today, they reach Ramallah where they will participate in an event at 11:00 in central Ramallah and will cap off the visit with a meeting with President Abbas.

• Minister of Culture, Ihab Bseiso, on the Balfour Declaration

Q: What kind of activities do you have lined up for commemorating this centennial?

For one, it is imperative to cement this history in the collective Palestinian memory of this generation and those to come. We must ensure that we continue to insist that Britain apologize for what it did in 1917 and the promise that was the main reason for the Palestinian Nakba. There will be cultural activities throughout the homeland and letters written on this occasion, reaffirming our rights and our insistence on rejecting this declaration.


• Netanyahu in UK to Commemorate Balfour Declaration Centennial

Ma’ariv (p. 8) by Yanir Cozin -- Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu left Israel for the UK to take part in the ceremony marking the one-hundredth anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. He is scheduled to meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson before the ceremony.

Prior to boarding the plane, Netanyahu said yesterday: “In my meeting with Theresa May I intend to present concrete proposals about how to deal with the failings of the nuclear agreement with Iran.”

Netanyahu and May spoke on the telephone a month ago and discussed the nuclear agreement. May said that Britain remained committed to the agreement that was signed in 2015, and said it was important for regional security. A statement that was issued by May’s office after that phone conversation noting that the two leaders had agreed that the international community needed to address the threat Iran poses to Gulf state and the entire Middle East, and that world nations must act together to stop Iran’s attempt to undermine regional stability.

Netanyahu is scheduled to return to Israel only on Sunday night, though his timetable in the UK is not particularly tight. This evening he is to attend the main ceremony marking the one-hundredth anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, which is to be hosted by the descendants of Lord Balfour and the Baron de Rothschild. May is also planning to attend the ceremony, as is Opposition Chairman Yitzhak Herzog.

Tomorrow morning Netanyahu will speak at the Chatham House think tank, and is expected to field questions from journalists thereafter. He will then attend an event at the London stock exchange and will begin trade there, after which he will meet with several dozen CEOs of leading British corporations. “I’ll tell them to invest in Israel. I think that I’ll succeed in persuading many of them, because Israel is a very good investment,” Netanyahu said. Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with representatives of the British Jewish community on Sunday, prior to his return to Israel.

Meanwhile, as Israel and Britain celebrate the Balfour Declaration centennial, the Palestinians are planning to hold demonstrations against what they describe as the “broken British promise to the Palestinians.”

Memorial ceremonies are scheduled to be held in PA territory today, and a siren will sound at 10:00 in the morning as a sign of mourning. Schoolchildren will stand when the siren goes off, after which class discussions will be held about the significance of the Balfour Declaration—the fact that it was one-sided, granting the Jews self-determination in their own country whereas the Palestinians are still fighting the occupation. BDS organizations are also planning to hold marches and demonstrations against the British and Israeli governments, and will call on Britain to retract the Balfour Declaration.

The Foreign Ministry commented: “The Palestinian activity against the Balfour Declaration is pathetic and ridiculous. Instead of trying to build their future, the Palestinians are preoccupied with a sterile attempt to rewrite history and to invent for themselves a non-existent past. As long as the Palestinians continue to embrace that approach, which inculcates hatred and denial in their youngsters, it is hard to see how they are going to ensure a better future for themselves.”

• Nakba Memorial Festival in the Heart of Israel (online service) by Yuri Yalun -- The Zochrot NPO is scheduled to hold a controversial event in early December at the Saraya Theatre in Jaffa, which will be partially funded by the Culture and Sports Ministry and the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality, titled “48mm Film Festival: From Nakba to Return 2017.” The festival will take place at the Saraya Theatre in Jaffa and elsewhere around November 29, the 70thanniversary of the UN resolution on the partition plan. Zochrot calls itself an NPO that works to promote responsibility by the Jewish public in Israel for the Palestinian Nakba and exercising the right of return of the Palestinian refugees.

Zochrot’s website refers to the festival in question. “Zochrot’s 48mm gathers cinematic works that deal with the Nakba and the return of the Palestinian refugees from various angles, places and times.” The festival is planned to take place in the Saraya Theatre, which operates from the Jaffa Theatre building. 

“The festival is a tailwind for terrorism”

Organizing the festival ostensibly constitutes a violation of the Nakba Law, which stipulates that taxpayer money may be cut from institutions that observe Israel’s Independence Day or the day of the country’s establishment as a day of mourning. Betsalmo Director General Shai Glick said that it was not a case of just one specific incident in the Saraya Theater in Jaffa. “The Jaffa Theatre does not serve as a home for culture and art. The Jaffa Theatre has become a platform for disseminating hatred and incitement against the State of Israel and IDF soldiers. Zochrot’s Nakba Festival, which will soon take place at the Jaffa Theatre, proves that it’s not a public place of culture, but rather a home for incitement and hounding Israel. An anti-Israel hate event previously took place at the Jaffa Theatre as part of Apartheid Week, which is pure anti-Semitism and hatred. An event whose purpose is to step up the international pressure on Israel, and events in support of terrorists at the theatre, prove that the place must be closed, and the sooner, the better. It’s inconceivable for the Culture and Sports Ministry and the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality to fund a project of incitement like this in the name of art and culture. It’s time for this place to not benefit from Israeli taxpayers’ money.”

“There are no grounds for the State of Israel to fund a Nakba film festival,” Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev said resolutely. “The Culture and Sports Ministry under my leadership is not an ATM for funding lies and Palestinian propaganda and the attempts to undermine Israel’s stature in the world. The Nakba Law, which was enacted six years ago, was—thank God—taken out of the mothballs where it had languished for too long. The Nakba film festival at the Saraya Theatre is a tailwind for Palestinian terrorism and for undermining the legitimacy of our very existence as a Jewish and democratic state.”

After Israel Hayom contacted Minister Regev about the Nakba film festival at the Saraya Theatre in Jaffa, Culture and Sports Ministry Director General Yossi Sharabi demanded that Finance Ministry Legal Advisor Assi Messing convene a committee of the Finance Ministry to review the matter in order to examine the legality of holding the festival in question.

“The Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality does not interfere in events that take place in cultural institutes in the city,” read the municipality’s response, “so long as they uphold the law. We will also do so in the case of Zochrot in the Saraya Theatre.”

Saraya Theatre in Jaffa Director Mahmoud Abu Arisha replied, “We are examining the matter. In general, we make it possible for any figure from across the political spectrum to rent the theatre. Zochrot contacted us about renting the theatre’s auditorium. We will check the legal situation, because we follow the law, and we will be in contact with the relevant officials.”

• IDF Plans “Guillotine” to Cut Tunnels

Yedioth Ahronoth (p. 6) by Yossi Yehoshua -- Three days after blowing up a tunnel that was dug by Islamic Jihad into Israeli territory near Kibbutz Kissufim, IDF officials said it was their assessment that at least 14 Islamic Jihad terrorists were killed in the attack.

At least five of them are still missing inside the tunnel, and it is possible that they could be in Israeli territory. From the IDF’s point of view, the incident is not yet over. The IDF remains on a heightened state of alert, and several Iron Dome batteries remain deployed nearby. The IDF made the unprecedented decision to suspend work on the construction of an underground barrier against the tunnels so as to avoid any possible attacks by the Islamic Jihad on the workers involved in the project.

The assessment is that the Islamic Jihad will retaliate for the attack, given the high number of casualties it suffered, at a time and place that it finds convenient. One high-ranking Southern Command officer said that Israeli retaliation for any such attack would be fierce, especially given the fact that the tunnel was attacked on the Israeli side of the border. He revealed that the IDF waited until the tunnel reached Israeli territory before attacking it.

Islamic Jihad receives most of its funding from Iran. With that being the case, the Iranians are capable of pressuring Islamic Jihad to take action, despite Hamas’s desire to see the reconciliation agreement with Fatah implemented, and despite Egypt’s efforts to see that happen as well. That said, Islamic Jihad is likely to retaliate with a measured response, one that will allow Hamas’s leaders in the Gaza Strip to push ahead with the reconciliation efforts and to preserve Hamas’s hold on power.

Israel needs 14 months of quiet in the Gaza Strip, which is the projected time frame for completing the construction of the underground barrier in the area of the border fence, which will hermetically seal off the border from offensive tunnels.

The security establishment has developed two types of solutions. The first is a technological solution, which locates Islamic Jihad tunnels inside Israeli territory with a high degree of accuracy. The second is a physical solution—the underground barrier. If Israel finds itself drawn into an unplanned fight in Gaza, the balance of power between the IDF and Hamas will be quite different as of January 2019.

The IDF established a special laboratory in the Gaza Division in its efforts to find a solution to the threat of the tunnels. Some of the best minds have been put to work in that laboratory, which operates under the command of a high-ranking officer from the Gaza Division. The staff is comprised of engineers, geologists, engineering officers and intelligence officials. The staff review and cross-reference all of the data that are provided by the technological means in place.

The high-ranking officer said: “We have impressive preventive capabilities here, and everything flows into the laboratory. They have the ability to look and think whether there’s anything suspicious. They know how to identify all kinds of data and to discern subterranean irregularities. We integrate technology, operational capabilities, intelligence and engineering capabilities in a way that allows each to complement the other,” said the high-ranking officer. “We are making progress in tandem with the construction of the wall obstacle, and the moment we complete that project along the entire length of the border we’ll have a guillotine that will cut off the exiting tunnels, if there are any, and will sever all the tunnels that get dug. The folks on the other side are beginning to realize that they’ve got a problem. They realize that their tunnels won’t be usable. We’ll create a completely different balance of terror in the subterranean world, and our challenge is in the very deep reaches, not in the shallow depths. We’re on our way to bypassing the enemy. The incident this week wasn’t a random [success].”