U.S. President Donald Trump is being compared to the British Lord Balfour – in a non-flattering manner – by Palestinian officials following his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last week.
Trump’s declaration is seen by the PA as “a second version” of the Balfour Declaration, according to Palestinian Media Watch, an NGO monitoring the Arabic-language Palestinian media.
Trump’s announcement was described by Ma’an, a privately-owned news agency based in the West Bank, as a case in which a person who has no ownership (Trump) gave something away.
“[PA] Minister of Religious Affairs Sheikh Yusuf Ida’is said that the American administration’s decision against the holy city [of Jerusalem] constitutes a blatant provocation towards the Arabs and Muslims, and described it as the second Balfour Promise (i.e., Declaration), which was given by one who has no ownership to one who has no right. He emphasized that Jerusalem is Arab, and the Al-Aqsa Mosque is an Islamic mosque by virtue of a divine decision, and is not subject to any decision such as this or another,” Ma’an reported last week.
Hanna Issa, secretary-general of the PA’s Islamic-Christian Council for Jerusalem and the Holy Places, repeated the claim: “Yesterday was the second Balfour Promise or the Trump Promise, [in] which one who is not the owner gave to one who has no right,” Issa said during a morning show on PA television.
Official PA mouthpiece Al-Hayat al-Jadida wrote last week: “After 100 years, it seems that there is a second version of the [same] ominous promise [the Balfour Declaration]. … A month after the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Promise in which the British gave the Jews a national home in Palestine, US President [Donald Trump] issues an additional version of this promise.”
A cartoon in the paper published on Monday showed the US president as a caveman holding a cartoonish club and dragging the corpse of a white dove, the symbol of peace.
After the declaration last week, Palestinians began rioting in Jerusalem and across the West Bank, but the protests were relatively low-key.
According to PMW, in some instances protesters burned US and Israeli flags as well as effigies of the US president.
A Palestinian politician from Fatah was quoted by the PA paper as calling Trump “America’s crazy man.”
“From Al-Usoud Square in the heart of Ramallah and El-Bireh, these masses have come to say to America’s crazy man that his decision is completely rejected, has no legal or practical value, and Jerusalem will never be Jewish and will remain Arab Palestinian and Islamic-Christian,” Fatah Central Committee member Jamal Muhaisen was quoted by Al-Hayat Al-Jadida as saying on December 8.
Meanwhile, Fatah’s point man on Jerusalem affairs said that the Palestinians had no options left but to return to armed struggle.
“The Fatah Movement has always led the defenders of our Palestinian people and will not hesitate when it sees the danger surrounding our Palestinian capital Jerusalem. Yesterday we were called to a meeting of branch secretaries in the presence of [Fatah] Commissioner Jamal Muhaisen, and prepared plans for escalating struggle activities on the ground if the US makes such a decision that will blow up the peace process. … When the patron of peace [the US] comes and kills the peace process and kills our dream to establish our Palestinian state whose capital is Jerusalem, we in Fatah have nothing left but to return to confrontation with this occupation,” Secretary of Fatah in Jerusalem Shadi Mattour said on Palestinian television.