By Azriel Bermant
Published in Haaretz on July 29, 2016
This week, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Malki, representing President Mahmoud Abbas, addressed the Arab League Summit in Mauritania and asked them to join in preparing to sue the British government. The cause: The 100-year-old letter from British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Lord Rothschild regarding the British cabinet’s support for the "establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people."
Malki explained: "Almost a century has passed since 1917… We are working to open up an international criminal case for the crime which they committed against our nation – from the days of the British Mandate all the way to the massacre which was carried out against us from 1948 onwards.” Later on in the week, the demand was scaled down to the request for a formal U.K. apology to the Palestinians.
In January 2013, when David Cameron first proposed the referendum on Britain’s future in the European Union, in order to pacify Eurosceptics within his ruling Conservative party, he could scarcely have imagined that Turkey would play such a prominent role in the campaign.
The concerns of the British public over the possibility of “an invasion of Turkish migrants” were exploited by the ‘leave’ camp as a means to strengthen support for a withdrawal from the EU, amid heightened anxiety within Britain and in Europe as a whole over the migrant crisis. It was claimed that continued British membership of the EU would lead to a loss of control over the number of migrants entering the United Kingdom. The March 2016 agreement between the EU and Turkey on migration was held up as a perfect case in point. The Brexit campaigners pointed to a clause in the agreement referring to talks on new chapters in the possible Turkish accession process to the EU as evidence that Ankara would eventually join the EU, even though most experts argue that this is highly unlikely.
The ‘leave’ campaign also claimed that negotiations between the EU and Turkey over visa exemptions for Turkish citizens would pose a grave security threat, with Britain exposed to a wave of terrorists travelling from Syria and Iraq, in spite of the fact that no more than 14 per cent of Turkish citizens hold a passport....................................................................................................READ MORE
Dr Azriel Bermant
Foreign Policy and International Security Analyst, Historian, Lecturer, Author