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The Balfour Declaration: Palestine, Israel and Britain One Hundred Years on

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Chatham House, London

Participants

Lakhdar Brahimi, UN Diplomat (2001-14); The Elders
Ahmad Khalidi, Senior Associate, St Antony's College, Oxford; Palestinian Negotiator and Advisor (1991-93)
Hannah Weisfeld, Director, Yachad
Dr Ian Black, Visiting Senior Fellow, Middle East Centre, LSE; Middle East Editor, The Guardian (2007-16)
Sir Vincent Fean, British Consul General to Jerusalem (2010-14)
Yaacov Yadgar, Stanley Lewis Professor of Israel Studies, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford
Chair: Dr Claire Spencer, Senior Research Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House

Overview

This November marks the centenary of the Balfour Declaration – a promise that immeasurably altered the geopolitical landscape of the Middle East and one whose political and social impact is felt to this day in Palestine and Israel but also throughout the wider region. The declaration pledged British government support for a national home in Palestine for the Jewish people, on the understanding that ‘nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights’ of the communities already living there or ‘the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.’

Our panel will discuss some apparent internal inconsistencies in the declaration, its impact then and now and how its role has changed over time. One hundred years on, what does it now represent to the people of Palestine and Israel? How is it seen across the wider Middle East? And what part could there be for the British and other governments going forward in finding a peaceful resolution for all involved?

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