British Ambassador to Israel Tom Phillips (photo)
, who spoke in a ceremony in Tel Aviv Monday commemorating 89 years to the Balfour declaration, said that the two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the correct way in the modern world to implement the Balfour declaration.
The Balfour declaration was a statement written in November 1917 by British Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur James Balfour to Lord Lionel Rothschild, one of the leaders of the Jewish community in Britain, supporting a national home for the Jewish people in the land of Israel. This statement is considered to be one of most important and instrumental milestones in the history of the Zionist movement.
Ambassador Phillips added that the Balfour Declaration supports the balance between the rights of the Jewish people and between what the Balfour Declaration defines as the “non-Jewish communities in Palestine.” “If Lord Balfour was here today,” the ambassador said, “he would have seen this solution as the right way in the modern world to reach the balance he spoke about in his declaration.
The ambassador also added that he was worried about the sense of despair among Israelis. “The Israelis are stuck thinking about both the failures of the negotiations and the unilateral moves. I am afraid that the events of the past summer and the failure to reach the far reaching goal to end the conflict have brought Israelis to believe they must stay strong, and prepare to pay a heavy price in future wars. I believe we must cling to the hopes and work together toward a two state solution which was within reach only a few years ago,” he said.
I think it is not too late for it in this part of the world. It is still possible to return to the roadmap and to move forward and establish an independent viable Palestinian state which will live in peace next to an Israel which is safe within its borders. This, without a doubt, requires great courage and leadership by those who will lead the process,” the ambassador concluded.