Two pro-Palestinian activists were arrested after vandalizing a statue of former UK prime minister Lord Arthur Balfour on Saturday by squirting it with ketchup in protest of his role in the creation of Israel.
The activists belonged to the organization Palestine Action, which described the action as striking "at the very heart of government."
This was done by sneaking into the Members' Lobby at the House of Commons in Westminster Palace.
According to a statement, the Palestine Action activists unveiled a Palestinian flag and squirted "fake blood" onto the statue of Lord Balfour. They then glued themselves to the area and voiced their outrage at the UK and Lord Balfour in particular.
"105 years ago, Arthur Balfour gave away the Palestinians’ homeland — a land that wasn’t his to give away," one of the Palestine Action activists said.
"105 years ago, Arthur Balfour gave away the Palestinians’ homeland — a land that wasn’t his to give away."Palestine Action activist
This referenced the Balfour Declaration, delivered 105 years ago, which promised that a home for the Jewish people would be built in what was then known as the territory of Palestine, which before that was the biblical Land of Israel.
Footage of the incident was shared over social media by the activists themselves.
The two were later arrested and taken to a London police station, UK media reported, citing a police statement.
The Balfour Declaration, the Nakba and the UK's historic role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Activists vandalizing works of art and gluing themselves to the area for a political statement is nothing new. In fact, it has become increasingly popular in recent months, with several incidents seeing activists from the organization Just Stop Oil vandalizing historic works of art to protest climate change. However, this incident was motivated by a different ideology.
The passing of the Balfour Declaration helped spearhead the creation of the modern State of Israel, but also saw the widespread relocation of Palestinians. Today, this period is known to Palestinians as the Nakba, the great catastrophe.
But Palestine Action further noted that the UK has continuously profited from what they and other pro-Palestine activists describe as the Israeli occupation of the Palestinians.
Specifically, they point out that Israeli defense firm Elbit Systems, which makes some of Israel's most sophisticated weapons technology and military equipment, has manufacturing sites in the UK. These are sites that Palestine Action has claimed to wish to shut down.
"The British government in 1917, and every single one since, has profited from the crimes it committed 105 years ago, and is still committing to this day — from troops on the ground, to arming from afar, complicity didn’t stop. Palestine Action will make sure it does."Palestine Action
"The British government in 1917, and every single one since, has profited from the crimes it committed 105 years ago, and is still committing to this day — from troops on the ground, to arming from afar, complicity didn’t stop," the organization said. "Palestine Action will make sure it does."