History of Jordan,
capable of supporting a large population if irrigated and cultivated scientifically. ... The Zionists have as much right to this no-man's land as the Arabs, or more.Thus, the territory known variously as "Palestine," as "South Syria," as "Eastern and Western Palestine," or as part of "Turkey" had been designated by international mandate as a "Jewish National Home," concerning which the United States declared,
That there be established a separate state of Palestine.... placed under Great Britain as a mandatory of the League of Nations ... that the Jews be invited to return to Palestine and settle there.... and being further assured that it will be the policy of the League of Nations to recognize Palestine as a Jewish state as soon as it is a Jewish state in fact. . . . England, as mandatory, can be relied on to give the Jews the privileged position they should have without sacrificing the [religious and property] rights of non-Jews.4The Arabs of that day achieved independent Arab statehood in various lands around Palestine but not within Palestine itself Sovereignty was granted after World War I to the Arabs in Syria and Iraq; in addition, Saudi Arabia consisted of approximately 865,000 square miles of territory that was designated as "purely Arab"5Considering all the "territories" that had been given to the Arabs, Lord Balfour "hoped" that the "small notch" of Palestine east and west of the Jordan River, which was "being given" to the Jewish people, would not be "grudged" to them by Arab leaders .6
But, in a strategic move, the British Government apparently felt "the need to assuage the Emir's [Abdullah's] feelings."7 As one of the royal sons of the Hejaz (Saudi Arabia), Abdullah was a recipient of British gratitude; the Arabians of the Hejaz had been, among all the Arab world, of singular assistance to England against the Turks8
The insertion of Abdullah and his emirate into mandated Palestine, in the area east of the Jordan River that was part of the land allocated to the "Jewish National Home," might be partially traced to a suggestion received by Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill from T. E. Lawrence. In a letter of January 1921, Lawrence informed Churchill that Emir Feisal (Abdullah's brother, and Lawrence "of Arabia's" choice to lead the Arab revolt)9 had "agreed to abandon all claim of his father to [Western] Palestine," if Feisal got in return Iraq and Eastern Palestine as Arab territories. [See Feisal-Weizmann agreement]
Further explanation was found in a "secret dispatch from Chief British Representative at Amman" later in 1921. He cautioned that the local "Transjordanian Cabinet" had been replaced by a "Board of Secretaries,"
responsible for all internal affairs, referring to his highness Abdullah for a decision in the event of any disagreement....All the "Board" members, according to the Eastern Palestine envoy, were
Syrian exiles, who with perhaps one exception, are more interested in designs on the French in Syria than in developing Trans-Jordania.... In his Highness' opinion, the allies had not dealt fairly with the Arab nation and Great Britain had not treated him as he deserved. He was one of the most chiefly instrumental in bringing about the Arab revolution and when Feisal, during the war, was inclined to accept the overtures of the Turks he had opposed that policy.... When he came to Trans-Jordania "with the consent of the British", he had agreed to act in accordance with Mr. Churchill's wishes and with British policy, as he did not wish to be the cause of any friction between the British and their allies, the French.... The allies had not dealt fairly with the Arabs because, whereas they had agreed to form one Arab nation, forming different Arab states, and even in Syria, as small as it is, they had divided that country into six or seven states. He had come to Trans-Jordania hoping for great things and now he realized that he had no hope either north or east. If he went back from here to the Hejaz, he would look ridiculous.10Winston Churchill proposed his plan for Transjordan to Prime Minister Lloyd George in March 1921:
We do not expect or particularly desire, indeed, Abdullah himself to undertake the Governorship. He will, as the Cabinet rightly apprehend, almost certainly think it too small.... The actual solution which we have always had in mind and for which I shall work is that which you described as follows: while preserving Arab character of area and administration to treat it as an Arab province or adjunct of Palestine.11It was a British Jew, Palestine High Commissioner Sir Herbert Samuel, who supported and even extended Winston Churchill's formulations. Samuel sent a telegram to Churchill in July 1921; while discouraging Churchill from submitting to Abdullah's predicted eventual "demand" for "attachment of Trans-Jordania to, the Hejaz," as being "contrary to Article V of the Mandate and open to much objection in relation to future development," High Commissioner Samuel suggested the following:
I concur in proposal that Abdullah should visit London and had writtcn to you suggesting it.... At the end of six months, the following settlement might be arranged: (1) the Arab governor mutually agreed upon by his majesty's government and Abdullah or King Hussein. (2) British officer(s) to have real control. (3) Reserve force commanded by British officer(s), Air Force and armored cars as at present. (4) A small British garrison to be stationed in District temporarily. (5) A declaration in accordance with new article to be inserted in mandate that Jewish National Home provisions do not apply east of Jordan. This would not prevent such Jewish immigration as political and economic conditions allowed but without special encouragement by Government. 12Feisal got his wishes and became King of Iraq;13 his brother Abdullah was installed in the British mandatory area as ruler of the "temporary" emirate on the land of eastern Palestine, which became known as the "Kingdom of Transjordan."Palestine High Commissioner Harold MacMichael later offered some evidence -- of the original "temporary" nature of British intentions in a "private, personal and most secret" cipher; MacMichael reported in 1941 that Abdullah now harbored greater ambitions, because of
the part he [Abdullah] played in the last war, his position in the Arab world as a senior member of a royal house, [and] the purely temporaryarrangements whereby in 1921 having narrowly missed being made King (a) of Iraq and (b) of Syria in turn, he was left to look after Trans-Jordan .... 14Britain nevertheless quietly gouged out roughly three-fourths of the Palestine territory mandated for the Jewish homeland15into an Arab emirate, Transjordan,16 while the Mandate ostensibly remained in force but in violation of its terms.17Historians and official government documents concerned with the area continued to call it "Eastern Palestine," despite the new appellation. That seventy-five percent of the Palestine mandate was described by England's envoy to Eastern Palestine:18 "a reserve of land for use in the resettlement of Arabs [from Western Palestine], once the National Home for the Jews in Palestine"* resulted in the "Jewish independent state."The League of Nations Mandate for Palestine remained unchanged even though Britain had unilaterally altered its map and its purpose.19 The Mandate included Transjordan until 1946, when that land was declared an independent state.20Transjordan had finally become the de jure Arab state in Palestine just two years before Israel gained its Jewish statehood in the remaining one-quarter of Palestine; Transjordan comprised nearly 38,000 square miles; Israel, less than 8,000 square miles.
[* As the next chapters will illustrate, instead, Arabs poured from Eastern Palestine as well as from Arab areas within Western Palestine -- into the Jewish -- settled areas in Western Palestine. The course of action which followed from that unrecognized population movement brought ramifications which are as critical to the question of political "justice" as they are unknown or disregarded today.]
Thus, about seventy-five percent of Palestine's "native soil," east of the Jordan River, called Jordan, is literally an independent Palestinian-Arab state located on the majority of the land of Palestine; it contains a majority of Palestinian Arabs in its army as well as its population. In April 1948,21 just before the formal hostilities were launched against Israel's statehood, Abdullah of Transjordan22 declared: "Palestine and Transjordan are one, for Palestine is the coastline and Transjordan the hinterland of the same country." Abdullah's policy was defended against "Arab challengers" by Prime Minister Hazza al-Majali:
We are the army of Palestine.... the overwhelming majority of the Palestine Arabs ... are living in Jordan.23Although Abdullah's acknowledgment of Palestinian identity was not in keeping with the policy of his grandson, the present King Hussein, Jordan is nonetheless undeniably Palestine, protecting a predominantly Arab Palestinian population with an army containing a majority of Arab Palestinians, and often governed by them as well. Jordan remains an independent Arab Palestinian state where a Palestinian Arab "law of return" applies: its nationality code states categorically that all Palestinians are entitled to citizenship by right unless they are Jews.24 In most demographic studies, and wherever peoples are designated, including contemporary Arab studies, the term applied to citizens of Jordan is "Palestinian/Jordanian." In 1966 PLO spokesman Ahmed Shukeiry declared that25
The Kingdom of Palestine must become the Palestinian Republic....Yasser Arafat has stated that Jordan is Palestine. Other Arab leaders, even King Hussein and Prince Hassan of Jordan, from time to time have affirmed that "Palestine is Jordan and Jordan is Palestine." Moreover, in 1970-1971, later called the "Black September" period, when King Hussein waged war against Yasser Arafat's Arab PLO forces, who had been operating freely in Jordan until then, it was considered not an invasion of foreign terrorists but a civil war. It was "a final crackdown" against those of "his people"26 whom he accused of trying to establish a separate Palestinian state, under Arab Palestinian rule instead of his own, "criminals and conspirators who use the commando movement to disguise their treasonable plots," to "destroy the unity of the Jordanian and Palestinian people."27Indeed, the "native soil" of Arab and Jewish "Palestines" each gained independence within the same two-year period, Transjordan in 1946 and Israel in 1948. Yet today, in references to the "Palestine" conflict, even the most serious expositions of the problem refer to Palestine as though it consisted only of Israel -- as in the statement, "In 1948 Palestine became Israel."28 The term "Israel" is commonly used as if it were the sum total of "Palestine."
However, within what Lord Balfour had referred to as that "small notch" sometimes called Palestine, the "Jewish National Home" had been split into two separate unequal Palestines: Eastern Palestine-or the Arab emirate of Transjordan-and Western Palestine, which comprised less than one-fourth of the League of Nations Mandate. The portion of the "notch" of land on which the Jews settlod and in which most Jews actually lived -- from the 1870s and 1880s through the 1940s -- was in fact only a segment of the area of Western Palestine.
The East Bank and the West Bank, same situationIf Israel must give up a portion, or all of WEST BANK land, which was part of the British Mandated "Palestine" or Jewish National Home, it is only logical that Jordan must give up a proportiately large amount of EAST BANK land which was also part of the British Mandated "Palestine" or Jewish National Home.Each country, Israel and Jordan should contribute land according to the number of Palestinians residing in their country. (Most Palestinians in Jordan live on the EAST BANK)
|Area||Population||Percentage of total|
|Rest of Arab Countries||319,000||4.3%|
|United State of America||159,000||2.2%|
|SOURCE: Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics for Palestinians in WB/Gaza |
(http://www.pcbs.org/english/pop1.htm) and other countries (http://www.pcbs.org/english/t7.htm);
Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics estimates of Palestinians in Israel (http://www.cbs.gov.il/shnaton/st02-01.gif).Table: Estimated Palestinian Population Worldwide, mid-1996
Jordan is very much afraid that it will be declared THE PALESTINIAN STATE, Jordan has NEVER allowed publication of the percentage of Palestinians in its population. Jordan is also afraid that someone might suggest to take a portion of its territory for a Palestinian state. MORE THAN TWICE the number of Palestinians live on the EAST BANK of the Jordan River in Jordanian territory, than live on the WEST BANK.
1. The Old Testament indicates that historic Palestine included land on both sides of the Jordan River, east bank as well as west bank, including the territory now known as Jordan. The portion of historic Palestine east of the Jordan River equaled or exceeded in area the portion west of Palestine. In biblical times the tribe of Manasseh occupied more territory to the east of the Jordan River than to the west, the entire tribe of Reuben dwelled east of the Jordan, and the land called Gad was east of the Jordan. Mount Gilead and Ramoudh Gilead all were east of the Jordan, as were other biblical places and people. (See map, page 12, Literary and Historical Atlas of Asia, prepared by J. G. Bartholomew for the Everyman Library.) Even in the time of the New Testament (as shown by the map in Appendix 1). the land included territory on the east side of the Jordan River as well as the west. The New Testament city of Philadelphia was well east of the Jordan River, as was the city of Golan, which was part of Palestine, according to the Old Testament as well as the New. For an additional example, see Rand McNally Atlas of World History, ed. R.R. Palmer, Chicago, 1957, p. 25.
2. For map of Palestine, east, see 0. R. Conder, The Survey of Eastern Palestine, Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund, London, 1889; also see J. Stoyanovsky, The Mandate for Palestine (London, New York, Toronto, 1928), pp. 66, 204---210. Arthur Balfour's memorandum of August 11, 1919, stated: "Palestine should extend into the lands lying east of the Jordan." Balfour, who led the British delegation to the Paris Peace conference (in 1919) "determined the frontiers" Of Palestine in a memorandum to Prime Minister Lloyd George, June 26, 1919: "In determining the Palestinian frontiers, the main thing to keep in mind is to make a Zionist policy possible by giving the fullest scope to economic development in Palestine. Thus, the Northern frontier should give to Palestine a full command of the water power which geographically belongs to Palestine and not to Syria; while the Eastern frontier should be so drawn as to give the widest scope to agricultural development on the left bank of the Jordan, consistent with leaving the Hedjaz Railway completely in Arab possession."
3. December 2, 1918-Toynbee minute: Foreign Office Papers; 371/3398-Amold Toynbee agreed with the Mandate: "It might be equitable [to include in Palestine] that part ... which lies east of the Jordan stream ... at present desolate, but capable of supporting a large population if irrigated and cultivated scientifically ... The Zionists have as much right to this no-man's land as the Arabs, or more," cited in Martin Gilbert, Exile and Return, p. 115. See also David Lloyd George, The Truth About the Peace Treaties (vol. 1), pp. 1144-1145.
4. United States recommendation at the Paris Peace Conference, January 21, 1919. See also U.S. Congressional Resolution, June 30, 1922, in Survey of Palestine, p. 21.
5. In Arabia itself, largely equivalent to present Saudi Arabia, Jews had been present and had developed towns such as Medina and Khaibar, where they thrived from Roman days and before, until the conquest by Muhammad and subsequent directions from Omar. Then the Jews were slaughtered or their land expropriated and Jews were forced to flee for their lives if they did not convert to Islam. Many of those Jewsin the seventh century fled as refugees back to "Palestine," where Jewish inhabitants could even then be found in most towns referred to today as purely Arab areas.
Into the twentieth century, between 3,000 and 5,000 Jews lived in "purely Arab towns," such as Jenin, Tyre, Sidon, and Nablus during the Turkish domination; roughly 1,500 held on under the British Mandate; and in 1944-1947, zero. Those towns had been rendered judenrein by Arab pogroms; see Chapter 9.
6. Lord Balfour speech, July 12, 1920, cited in Palestine Royal Commission Reporl, para. 27, p. 27, 1937; see maps in this chapter and Appendix 1. See n. 15 here.
7.High Commissioner Harold MacMichael to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, regarding Transjordan, cipher telegram, private, personal and most secret, 1941, PRO C0733/27137.
8. David Lloyd George, The Truth About the Peace Treaties, pp. 1119, 1140. Also see Esco, Palestine, vol. 1, pp. 641
9. Gilbert, Exile, p. 132; see T.E. Lawrence, Revolt in the Desert, about Abdullah, particularly pp. 1-7. Feisal's role is woven throughout Lawrence's account. Also see King Abdullah of Jordan, My Memoirs Completed (Washington, D.C., 1954).
10. August 1, 1921, Secret dispatch #2301/pol., C0733/41683, Enclosure "A," Report No. 6.
11. PRO FO 371/6342, March 23, 1921.
12. July 4, 1921, telegram to Secretary of State for the Colonies, C0733/35186; response to "Very Confidential" memo "from the Civil Secretary after his recent tour in Trans-Jordania," Churchill to Samuel, July 2, 1921, C0733/36252.
13.Churchill Papers 17/14, January 17,1921; cited in Gilbert, ExileandReturn, p. 132; the British chose Feisal to be King in March 192 1, at the Cairo Conference. See Esco, Palestine, pp. 121-126.
14.MacMichael hoped in 1941 to offer Abdullah a "consolation prize" of "Trans Jordan" when the country gained independence of the Mandate, and after Abdullah "has realized that his hopes ... for Syria ... are vain. We simply cannot have recrimination of these pledges to the Arabs until we are absolutely clear how and when they are to be converted into practice. The smaller the time gap between any promise and its implementation, the better. . . . " MacMichael to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, PRO C0733/27137.
15.According to the 1937 Palestine Royal Commission Report, "Trans-Jordan was cut away from that field [in which the Jewish National Home was understood to be established at the time of the Balfour Declaration.... the whole of historic Palestine]." The reason given was the later claim of the Arabs that a letter, called the McMahon pledge, from Sir Henry McMahon on October 24, 1915, had included Palestine in the territory that Britain promised to the Arabs. A formal Arab protest, called "The Holyland. The Muslim-Christian Case Against Zionist Aggression," was not declared until November 1921, six years after the date of the McMahon letter and four years after the Balfour Declaration. The fact that McMahon had excluded Palestine from his promise-as had the Emir Feisal excluded it from his request at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, ignoring the McMahon letter-was conspicuously absent. The British government's failure to publish the complete correspondence gave credence to what otherwise would have been a quickly squelched, rather obvious ploy, until 1939, when a committee of British and Arab delegates scrutinized the correspondence; the British then determined that, in the words of one delegate, the Lord High Chancellor, Lord Maugham, "The correspondence as a whole, and particularly ... Sir Henry McMahon's letter of the 24th October, 1915, not only did exclude Palestine but should have been understood to do so. . . ." Similar testimony came from many eminent British government officials. Most notably, from Sir Henry McMahon himself. in The Times of London, July 23,1937, McMahon wrote, "I feel it my duty to state, and I do so definitely and emphatically, that it was not intended by me in giving this pledge to King Hussein to include Palestine in the area in which Arab independence was promised. I also had every reason to believe at the time that the fact that Palestine was not included in my pledge was well understood by King Hussein." The British case supporting McMahon was strengthened even further by the fact that Feisal waited until January 29, 1921-nearly six years later-to bring up the subject, and then he was quoted by Winston Churchill as being "prepared to accept" the exclusion of Palestine. The logical deduction to be made from the plethora of evidence seems clear: Palestine was indeed excluded-and in any case, the Balfour Declaration was incorporated by the Council of the League of Nations and was thus binding upon its trustee, England as Mandatory power, while no British letter of pledge could have been binding even if one had been given. Nevertheless, Arabs and their supporters have continued to attempt to cast doubt, as though the written documents didn't exist. Significantly, however, the 1937 Palestine Royal Commission Report, which was issued the same year that McMahon published his Times rejoinder, made the recommendation that "Transjordan should be opened to Jewish immigration." It never was. Palestine Royal Commission Report, pp. 22-38; for texts of several British witnesses and full McMahon text: Esco, Palestine, vol. 1, p. 1811 Great Britain, Correspondence, Cmd. #5957; Churchill White Paper, June 3, 1922, Statement of British policy in Palestine, Cmd. # 1700, p. 20; Lloyd George, The Truth About the Peace Treaties, vol. 11, pp. 1042, 1140-1155; D.H. Miller, Diary, vol. XIV, pp. 227-234 and 414, vol. 11, pp. 188-189, vol. XVII, p. 456; H.F. Frischwasser-Ra'anan, The Frontiers of a Nation (London: Batchworth Press, 1955), pp. 104-107. Frischwasser-Ra'anan writes of the statement by British Foreign Office expert on the Near East, Lord Robert Cecil: " 'Our wish is that the Arab country shall be for the Arabs, Armenia for the Armenians and Judea for the Jews,"' pp. 104-105; Antonius, Arab Awakening, pp. 390-392; The Letters of TE. Lawrence, David Garnett, ed. (Doubleday, Doran, 1939), pp. 281-282; for international legal interpretation, see J. Stoyanovsky, The Mandatefor Palestine (London, New York, Toronto: Longmans, Green & Co., 1928), pp. 66, 205-223; Parliamentary Debates, Commons, vol. 113, col.115-116, May 23,1939, for the views of the Archbishop of Canterbury; for examples of discussion of the McMahon-Hussein matter that omit available evidence described or referred to above, and suggest support of the Arab protestations, see William B. Quandt, Fuad Jabber, Ann Mosely Lesch, The Politics of Palestinian Nationalism (Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 1973), pp. 8-11; John S. Badeau, East and West ofSuez (New York: The Foreign Policy Association, 1943), p. 45.
16.In the Anglo-American Committee's "Historical Summary of Principal Political Events in Palestine Since the British Occupation in 1917," a chronological summary beginning in 1917, no mention at all is made of the gift of Transjordan to the Arabs by the British-neither in the 1922 summary nor in 1928, when an "organic Law" was enforced, nor in 1929 when the ratification of the "Agreement" took place. See Summary in Survey of Palestine, vol. 1, pp. 15-25. Yet that act, which severed roughly seventy-five percent of the Mandate of Palestine, is ignored as a "principal political event"-the de facto creation of an Arab state on seventy-five percent of what had been deemed the "Jewish National Home," and which had been specifically set aside by the British and Arabs alike as an area "not purely Arab," as compared to Iraq and Syria. In the chapter preceding the "Summary," the Arabs' acquisition of an Arab-Palestinian state-a Palestinian state surely no less than Israel became-is presented as afait accompli. "Prior to the 12th August, 1927, the High Commissioners for Palestine included within their jurisdiction the entire Mandatory area without separate mention of Transjordan. Since that date, however, the High Commissioners have received separate commissions for Palestine and Trans-Jordan respectively. " See Survey ofPalestine, p. 14. (Emphasis added.) In the Summary, however, exhaustive attention is drawn to the Balfour Declaration and its ramifications upon the Arab community in Palestine; on the rioting- "The hostility shown towards the Jews [which was] ... shared by Arabs of all classes; Moslem and Christian Arabs, whose relations had hitherto been uneasy, were for once united. Intense excitement was aroused by the wild anti-Jewish rumors which were spread during the course of the riots." See Haycraft Inquiry, October 192 1, in Survey of Palestine, pp. 18, 19.
17.The only proposal Britain as Mandatory power submitted to the League of Nations "during the lifetime of the League. . ." was a 1922 memorandum citing Article 25 of the Mandate; Article 25 allowed the Mandatory power "with the consent of the Council of the League of Nations, to postpone or withhold application of such provisions of the mandate as he may consider suitable to those conditions, provided that no action ... is inconsistent with ... Article 15, 16 and 18." The article referred to "the territories lying between the Jordan and the Eastern boundary ofPalestine ...... the eastern boundary being the Hejaz (Saudi Arabia). In Dr. Paul S. Riebenfeld, "Israel, Jordan and Palestine," (unpublished manuscript), pp. 10-18ff, exhaustive study of documentation concerning TransJordan and the Mandate. In fact it appears that, to humor Emir Abdullah, the British gave the appearance of a severance, with the real consequences of a severance from Palestine upon the Jewish National Home, and the de facto creation of the Palestinian Arab state, while the British never attempted to legalize their actions, only to record them; "the only legal action ever taken by the British Government" was taken under Article 25: the Resolution of September 16, 1922. League of Nations Official Journal, November 1922, pp. 1390-1391; Riebenfeld, ibid., p. 18. For an absorbing account of "what exactly happened on September 16, 1922" see Dr. Riebenfeld's "Integrity of Palestine," Midstream, August/September, 1975, p. 12ff; also see Ernest Frankenstein, Justice for My People.
18. Alec Kirkbride, A Crackle of Thorns (1956), pp. 19-20. Kirkbride goes on to say, however, that "There was no intention" in 1920 "of forming the territory east of the river Jordan into an independent Arab state." Also see Palestine Royal Commission Report, suggesting that Transjordan-Eastem Palestine-"if fully developed could hold a much larger population than it does at present," p. 308.
19.When Britain -entered into an agreement to transfer the exercise of administration on February 20, 1928, the League of Nations Permanent Mandates Commission challenged the agreement as a "conflict with the Mandate for Palestine." Quincy Wright, Mandates Under the League of Nations (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1930), p. 458. The statement of the Commission (in part) was: "Since the Commission is charged with the duty of seeing that the mandate is fully and literally carried out, it considers it necessary to point out in particular, Article 2 of the Agreement, which reads as follows: "'The powers of legislation and administration entrusted to His Britannic Majesty as mandatory for Palestine shall be exercised in that part of the area under Mandate known as Transjordan by His Highness the Amir . . .' does not seem compatible with the stipulation of the Mandate of which Article I provides that: 'The mandatory shall have full powers of legislation and of administration, save as they may be limited by the terms of this mandate."' League of Nations, Official Journal, Oct. 1928, p. 1574; also see pp. 1451-1453; also in Riebenfeld, Israel, Jordan and Palestine, pp. 24-25; ... At that point Britain's Council member "explained that Great Britain still regarded itself as responsible for the ... mandate in TransJordan and the Council was satisfied." Quincy Wright, Mandates Under the League ofNations (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1930), p. 458; as another example, in 1937 the Permanent Mandates Commission, at the 32nd Session, insisted that no obstacle should "prevent that Jewish National Home being established." Minutes of the 32nd Session, p. 90.
20. May 1946. See Chapter 17.
21. April 12, 1948, Arab League Resolution: No partition would be acceptable, and a Palestine must be liberated from the Zionists; on April 16, 1948, Abdullah abolished the Jordan Senate and appointed 20 new Senators: 7 Senators were Palestinian Arabs; on April 24, 1948, Jordan's House of Delegates and House of Notables, in joint session of Parliament, adopted a resolution: ". . . basing itself on the right of self-determination and on the existing de facto position between Jordan and Palestine and their national, natural and geographic unity and their common interests and living space. . . ." The parliament supported the "unity between the two sides of the Jordan Cited in
"Jordan Annexes Arab Palestine," by Benjamin Schwadran, Middle Eastern Affairs; vol. 1, no. 4, April 1950.
22. April 12, 1948, cited in Paul Riebenfeld, "The Integrity of Palestine", in Midstream, August-September 1975, p. 22.
24. Jordanian Nationality Law, Official Gazette, No. 1171, Article 3 (3) of Law No. 6, 1954, February 16, 1954, p. 105.
25. Ahmed Shukeiry to the Council of the Arab League, November 1966, cited in Riebenfeld, "The Integrity," Midstream, p. 23.
26.Mohamed Heikal, Road to Ramadan (New York: Ballantine Books, 1975), p. 96. See Heikal's account of a meeting between Arab heads of state, including King Faisal, Ghadaffl, and President Nasser; according to Heikal, King Hussein's war ended September 27, 1970, with the signed agreement between Hussein and Yasser Arafat, and the "withdrawal of all ... forces from every city in the country" (p. 99). According to another source, the ceasefire took place September 25, but fighting continued well into 1971. Political Terrorism, edited by Lester Sobel (New York: Facts on File, Inc., 1975), cited in Hashemite Kingdom ofJordan and the West Bank edited by Anne Sinai and Allen Pollack (New York: American Academic Association for Peace in the Middle East, 1977), p. 60.
27. June 2, 1971: Hussein's orders to Jordanian Premier Wasfi Tel, cited in Hashemite Kingdom, p. 61.
This page was produced by Joseph E. Katz
Middle Eastern Political and Religious History Analyst
Brooklyn, New York
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Source: "From Time Immemorial" by Joan Peters, 1984
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Jordanian-Palestinian activist Mudar Zahran is not a man who minces his words. In fact, his outspokenness against the Jordanian regime has made him a persona-non-grata in his own country, forcing him to seek asylum in the UK.
Zahran did not pull any punches Sunday afternoon, speaking at a conference entitled "Two States for Two People, on Two Sides of the Jordan River." Deriding the Jordanian ruling elite as "Armani-wearing, English-speaking autocrats" he called on all parties to consider a radically different track to the current peace initiatives based off of a "Two State Solution" which would see a Palestinian Authority-run state in Judea and Samaria.
The conference was held at Jerusalem's Menachem Begin Heritage Center, and organized byfor a Strong Israel, with the goal of fostering debate over alternatives to the "Two State Solution" which is currently on the table.
Zahran was the sole Palestinian Arab representative, but claimed to represent the "secular Palestinian majority" in Jordan, where between 60-80% identify as Palestinian, and which he believes hold the key to ending his people's conflict with Israel.
Arab, Israeli rights "not mutually exclusive"
He posited that the establishment of a Palestinian state in what is today Jordan would essentially solve the Arab-Israeli conflict in a way that was both practical and "historically just" for both peoples, and further claimed that such an eventuality was "inevitable," given what he saw as the increasing instability of the ruling Hashemite regime.
On the one hand, Zahran said that he understood why many Israelis oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria (also known as the "West"), noting the region's strategic and historical importance to the Jewish State. Jews have lived in the area for more than 3,500 years, and its position in the center of the country, stretching to within 8 miles of the coast and overlooking Israel's main population centers, mean that its surrender to the PA would render Israel extremely vulnerable to attack.
Zahran said Israelis were rightly concerned that, even if the PA was being genuine about peace talks, it was highly possible that an Israeliwould be followed by a takeover by the Islamist Hamas movement, which is openly committed to the destruction of the Jewish state. Hamas ousted the PA in Gaza following Israel's 2005 withdrawalfrom the territory, and promptly intensified a campaign of terror against Israeli civilians, including the raining of thousands of rockets and mortar shells on Israeli communities in the south of the country. A Hamas-run Judea and Samaria would put most of the rest of Israel's population - including greater Tel Aviv and Jerusalem - at similar risk, posing an existential threat to the State of Israel.
He noted that the aging PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas did not have any obvious replacements, and claimed that once he was no longer at the helm the PA would quickly lose its control over the vast array of competing Arab tribes in Judea and Samaria.
On the other hand, he insisted that "we [Palestinians] will never give up a single inch of our rights as human beings," and that a solution had to be found that would satisfy the demands of millions of Palestinian Arabs for statehood.
However, unlike most Israeli and Arab leaders, he does not see the two imperatives as mutually-exclusive.
Zahran pointed to a number of international treaties, including the Faisal-Weitzmann agreement and the San Remo Declaration, which sought to establish a Jewish state west of the Jordan River, and an Arab one to the east (in addition to almost two dozen other independent Arab states).
"We [Arabs] got 77% [of the land originally allocated for a Jewish state], you barely got 22%" he said, referring to the San Remo Declaration, which saw more than three quarters of the land allocated for a Jewish state by the Balfour Declaration separated as an Arab state.
"This is one of the very few occasions we outsmarted the Jews," he quipped, but went on to lament the fact that instead of handing control to the local Arabs in "Transjordan," the British installed the Hashemite royal family, which hailed from the Hejaz, in what is today Saudi Arabia.
Re-opening the debate
A lack of democracy and the rule of the Hashemite minority over the Palestinian majority rendered it "illegitimate," Zahran claimed, and reiterated his view that the Kingdom would soon succumb to the "Arab Spring."
He accused the king of spending more than 50% of the country's GDP on the military, and enriching himself and his family at the expense of the rest of the population.
Once the king falls, he said, it is only natural that the Palestinian majority would vote in a Palestinian government, creating a de-facto Palestinian State. The only remaining question is whether that state would be secular or an Islamist "Hamas-stine," he claimed, urging western leaders to support the secular Palestinian opposition movement to avoid the latter.
The empowerment of the majority in Jordan would put the interests of the people before that of a ruling elite, granting both freedom and a better quality of life to all its citizens. A Palestinian Jordanian state would extend a similar "right of return" to the one which Israelto Jews throughout the Diaspora, he added, solving the refugee problem and granting full political rights to Palestinian Arabs in Judea and Samaria without posing a demographic threat to the Jewish state. Their status would be identical to that of Palestinian Arab residents of Jerusalem, who enjoy the status of "residents" in Israel, whilst voting in PA legislative elections.
Zahran also reserved harsh criticism for the "Hashemite cheerleaders" among many Israeli politicians and supporters of Israel, condemning them as shortsighted and immoral for supporting an autocratic regime on the basis of short-termconsiderations, which regional developments have proven can change nearly overnight.
But whilst Zahran's views did receive wide support at the conference, not everyone was in agreement.
Likud MK Tzipi Hotoveli dismissed the idea as a 'fantasy,' saying that there is no way that Israel could control whether the Jordanian government falls or not.
Instead, she called on the Israeli government to consider annexing Judea and Samaria and granting its Arab population full citizenship. She insisted that such a move would not pose a significant demographic threat to Israel if the government focused on encouraging Aliyah (Jewish immigration to Israel), and as long as the rights to "citizenship" be made contingent upon the upholding of one's "duties" as a citizen - which she claimed would neutralize the threat from hostile elements within the Arab population who seek to undermine the Jewish State.
Former Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon disagreed with both views. He pointed to the excellent security cooperation between Israel and the Jordanian government as proof that the continued existence of the Hashemite Kingdom was in Israel's best interest.
Despite the split in opinion, the event's organizer, Professor Aryeh Eldad, was pleased with the outcome, though he reserved criticism for the Israeli right.
"The right has been very good at saying what should not be done, but has failed to come up with an alternative solution."
The conference, he said, had gone a long way to reopening a debate which in his view had been stifled since the Oslo accords in 1993.