The Balfour Declaration a century ago opened the way for the creation of Israel, sowing the seeds of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that continues to tear apart the Middle East today.
The statement was made in an open letter from British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour that was published on November 2, 1917, a year before the end of World War I.
In one sentence it announced the British government’s backing for the establishment within Palestine, then a region of the Ottoman Empire, of “a national home for the Jewish people”.
It was a shock to the Arab world, which had not been consulted and had received vague promises of independence of its own in the post-war break up of the defeated Ottoman Empire.
The Palestinians have always condemned the Declaration, which they refer to as the “Balfour promise”, saying Britain was giving away land it did not own.