Catholic and Anglican bishops today, 2 November 2017, called for justice and reconciliation in the Holy Land on the centenary of the Balfour Declaration.
Bishop Declan Lang, Catholic bishop of Clifton and Bishop Christopher Chessun, Anglican bishop of Southwark together stated that:
“On the Centenary of the Balfour Declaration, we commend the work of the Balfour Project (www.balfourproject.org) to encourage justice and reconciliation in the Holy Land, acknowledging Britain’s past and future responsibilities to the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. Today the need for prayer, awareness and action is greater than ever.
“Israel’s security and development are inseparable from the fulfilment of Palestinian aspirations to statehood. We renew our call on the UK government, to recognise the right of the Palestinian people to belong to a state on their own lands, next to the state of Israel. Only justice for both peoples will lead to the reconciliation for which we pray with the Christian Church in the Holy Land.”
Both bishops are regular visitors to the Holy Land and are dedicated to promoting justice and peace for all in Israel and Palestine.
In January 2018, Bishop Lang will again lead the Holy Land Coordination, a delegation of Bishops from Europe, North America and South Africa. Bishop Chessun is an active member of this delegation and will also be participating next year.
The Holy Land Coordination, mandated by the Holy See, meets every January in the lands of Christ’s birth ministry, Passion and Resurrection. It aims to promote justice and peace, acting in solidarity with the Christian communities there and share in the pastoral life as it experiences extreme political and socio-economic pressure.
The text of the letter sent by UK Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Lord Rothschild that came to be known as the Balfour Declaration was later accepted by the League of Nations in 1922 and embodied in the mandate that gave the UK temporary administrative control of Palestine. It laid the foundations to the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.
The letter, dated 2 November 1917, read:
Dear Lord Rothschild,
I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.
His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.
Arthur James Balfour