2017: A year of anniversaries

2017 is a year of anniversaries

Colin Shindler

One hundred and twenty years in August since Herzl opened the first Zionist congress in Basel.

Seventy years in November since UN Resolution 181 was passed which proclaimed the partition of the geographical area historically known as Palestine – one state for the Zionist Jews, the other for the Palestinian Arabs.
Fifty years in June since Israel’s victory in the Six Day war and the conquest of the West Bank.
But above all 2017 will commemorate one hundred years since the Balfour Declaration on 2 November.

In 1917 the British government favoured ‘the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people’. The meaning of ‘a national home’ was clearly open to interpretation. It could mean both a state and a community centre. It also implied that that it was ‘in Palestine’, suggesting the possibility that it could mean ‘not all of Palestine’. Moreover ‘the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine’ were upheld – as was ‘the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews’ in the countries of the diaspora.

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