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The land on which Israel was located contained only a fraction of the Palestine Mandate originally dedicated to the Jews as their homeland, incorporating the Balfour Declaration.1 The League of Nations and the British had designated the land called "Palestine" for the "Jewish National Home" -- east and west of the Jordan River from the Mediterranean to Arabia and Iraq, and north and south from Egypt to Lebanon and Syria.2 Historian Arnold Toynbee observed in 1918 that the "desolate" land "which lies east of the Jordan stream,"3 was
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"5
Considering 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.Winston 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 temporary arrangements 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 homeland15 into an Arab emirate, Transjordan,16 while the Mandate ostensibly remained in force but in violation of its terms.17 Historians 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.20 Transjordan 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."27
Indeed, 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)
Palestinians are by law guaranteed the RIGHT OF RETURN to Jordan, where they are entitled to citizenship, "unless they are Jews."
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
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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
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.
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