Is there a "Balfour lease" for Israel that expired on October 31, 2023? No, that's not true: Israel's creation did not stem from any agreement indicating that its land is temporary. There is a Balfour Declaration, a statement made by the British government in 1917 that set the stage for Israel to become a country; however, the declaration did not state that the country would only exist for around 100 years.
Balfour lease expires October 31, 2023
Although the video on TikTok contains several other claims about Israel and the U.S., this fact check will only focus on the "Balfour lease" claim.
This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:
There is no "Balfour lease" that determines how long the nation of Israel has its land. Lead Stories searched for "Balfour lease" on the Israeli government's website (archived here), along with the United Nations' digital library (archived here) and the website of the Library of Congress (archived here) for any historical documents about a so-called "Balfour lease." There were no results that corroborated the information in the claim.
However, there is a Balfour Declaration, which was a letter sent on behalf of the British government and enacted on November 2, 1917. The letter was from British foreign secretary Arthur Balfour and addressed to Lionel Walter Rothschild, a prominent Jewish leader in Britain. It contained support for the creation of a "national home" in Palestine for the Jewish population.
Rothschild was a supporter of Zionism, a movement that called for the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, particularly for the Jewish population in Europe.
The letter -- dated November 2, 1917, as mentioned above -- is quoted in full below:
Dear Lord Rothschild,
I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty's Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.
'His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.'
I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.
Arthur James Balfour
Nowhere in the declaration is there an indication that the land claimed by Israel is leased. The Balfour Declaration was a precursor to the British Mandate for Palestine, which officially placed Britain in control of Palestine in 1922 and thus, advanced Zionist interests.
Other Lead Stories fact checks of claims about the Hamas-Israel conflict that began in October 2023 can be found here.