This petition was submitted during the 2015–2017 Conservative government

Petition UK must apologise for the Balfour Declaration & lead peace efforts in Palestine

We call on Her Majesty’s Government to openly apologise to the Palestinian people for issuing the Balfour Declaration. The colonial policy of Britain between 1917-1948 led to mass displacement of the Palestinian nation.

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HMG should recognise its role during the Mandate and now must lead attempts to reach a solution that ensures justice for the Palestinian people.

This petition closed early because of a General Election Find out more on the Petitions Committee website

13,637 signatures

100,000

Government responded

The Balfour Declaration is an historic statement for which HMG does not intend to apologise. We are proud of our role in creating the State of Israel. The task now is to encourage moves towards peace.

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The Balfour Declaration is an historic statement for which HMG does not intend to apologise. We are proud of our role in creating the State of Israel. The task now is to encourage moves towards peace.

The Declaration was written in a world of competing imperial powers, in the midst of the First World War and in the twilight of the Ottoman Empire. In that context, establishing a homeland for the Jewish people in the land to which they had such strong historical and religious ties was the right and moral thing to do, particularly against the background of centuries of persecution. Of course, a full assessment of the Declaration and what followed from it can only be made by historians.

Much has happened since 1917. We recognise that the Declaration should have called for the protection of political rights of the non-Jewish communities in Palestine, particularly their right to self-determination. However, the important thing now is to look forward and establish security and justice for both Israelis and Palestinians through a lasting peace. We believe the best way to achieve this is through a two-state solution: a negotiated settlement that leads to a safe and secure Israel living alongside a viable and sovereign Palestinian state, based on the 1967 borders with agreed land swaps, Jerusalem as the shared capital of both states, and a just, fair, agreed and realistic settlement for refugees.

We believe that such negotiations will only succeed when they are conducted between Israelis and Palestinians, but with appropriate support from the international community. We remain in close consultation with both sides and international partners to encourage meaningful bilateral negotiations. We do not underestimate the challenges, but if both parties show bold leadership, peace is possible. The UK is ready to do all it can to support this goal.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office