After the environmentalist cause, Palestine: a painting was damaged in the name of the conflict between Hamas and Israel. An activist from the Palestine Action group tore a portrait of Lord Arthur Balfour at Cambridge University this Friday, March 8. The man depicted in the painting is a former British minister who wrote a statement in 1917 expressing Britain’s support for the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine.

In a video posted online by the group on Police confirmed the incident and said an investigation had been launched. “No arrests have been made at this stage,” she said in a statement.

In a statement sent to AFP, Trinity College “regrets the damage caused to the portrait (…) during public opening hours” of the establishment.

In a statement, Palestine Action believes that this act “symbolizes the bloodshed of the Palestinian people since the publication of the Balfour Declaration in 1917” and denounces the Israeli military operation in Gaza launched by Israel in retaliation for the bloody attack on Hamas on October 7, which left at least 1,160 dead, most of them civilians, according to an AFP count based on official sources.

After five months of a devastating war, 30,878 people have died in Gaza, according to the authorities of the Islamist movement, and 1.7 million inhabitants have been displaced by the fighting, according to the UN. The Balfour Declaration, dating from November 2, 1917, is considered an important milestone leading to the creation of Israel in 1948.

“The British initiated the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, realizing the Zionist objective of building their “home” on what were Palestinian communities, towns, villages, farms and ancestral lands,” denounces Palestine Action in its communicated. The Balfour Declaration, addressed to Lord Walter Rothschild, a prominent British Zionist, also called for “nothing” to be done “which would prejudice the civil and religious rights of non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status of which Jews enjoy it in every other country.”

Palestine Action describes itself as a “direct action network” whose aim is to expose “British complicity” with the State of Israel, particularly its arms sales. In October, activists covered the facade of the BBC headquarters in London with red paint, and in January, six members of the group were arrested on suspicion of trying to disrupt the London Stock Exchange.