Jordan is 77% of former Palestine - Israel, the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza comprise 23%.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Palestine – Kerry Can’t Keep Kidding Himself

[Published 6 April 2014]

J Wire

David Singer

US Secretary of State John Kerry’s unshakeable belief that he could succeed in facilitating what had eluded former American Secretaries of State for the last 20 years – the creation of a 22nd Arab State in the West Bank and Gaza for the first time ever in recorded history – has been shattered following Israel cancelling the release of 26 prisoners convicted of terrorist attacks prior to the 1993 Oslo Accords.
Israel’s action followed the PLO lodging applications to join 15 UN international agencies in breach of its commitments not to do so whilst negotiations between Israel and the PLO were being conducted.
Kerry now needs to immediately focus his attention on Jordan – the last Arab State to have occupied the West Bank between 1948 -1967 and which – together with Israel – comprise the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine 1920-1948.
Redrawing Jordan’s international boundary with Israel to restore the status quo existing before the outbreak of the 1967 Six Day War – as far as is now possible given the changed circumstances on the ground – provides a realistically achievable alternative to the doomed Israel-PLO negotiations.
Lorenzo Kamel – a historian at Bologna University and a visiting fellow at Harvard’s Center for ­Middle Eastern Studies – has published an error-riddled article attempting to distance Jordan from becoming involved in any such negotiations – which Kerry should unequivocally reject.
Kamel’s following misleading claims have been corrected by my bold responses:
1.  “Whenever there is a concrete effort to push forward the peace process, talk about “a substitute homeland” for the Palestinians re-emerges. Most of those supporting this scheme claim that well before the partition suggested by the UN General Assembly in 1947, the Zionist movement suffered a mutilation of territory following the unilateral British decision in 1922 to separate Transjordan from the rest of the land subject to the Mandate for Palestine…
…” Transjordan was thus part of the Mandate for Palestine with the proviso that Britain might administer it separately and for a period which at best may be considered scarcely relevant.”
Transjordan remained subject to the Mandate for Palestine from 1920 until 1946.
It was only the provisions of the Mandate relating to the reconstitution of the Jewish National Home in Palestine that were “postponed or withheld” in Transjordan under article 25 of the Mandate –  as this Note presented by the Secretary General to the League of Nations clearly stated:
“In the application of the Mandate to Transjordan, the action which, in Palestine, is taken by the Administration of the latter country will be taken by the Administration of Transjordan under the general supervision of the Mandatory.
His Majesty’s Government accept full responsibility as Mandatory for Transjordan, and undertake that such provision as may be made for the administration of that territory in accordance with Article 25 of the Mandate shall be in no way inconsistent with those provisions of the Mandate which are not by this resolution declared inapplicable.”
The seeds for an independent Jew-free Arab State in 78% of Palestine had thus been planted by Great Britain in 1922.
Transjordan achieved its eventual independence on May 25, 1946 – whilst the remaining 22% of Palestine continued to be subject to the Mandate until 1948.
2. “Transjordan, unlike Palestine, was never occupied by British troops and during the mandatory period there was no “overlapping”, either at a legal or practical level, between the two areas.”
The Arab Legion was formed in Transjordan in 1923 and financed by Britain and commanded by British officers under Captain Frederick Peake.
Transjordan was always included in the annual Report for the Mandate for Palestine presented to the League of Nations Permanent Mandates Commission. “
3.  A citizen of Transjordan was required to ask for official permission before being admitted to Palestine.”
Immigration from Transjordan was not illegal, and was not recorded as immigration at all until 1938
4. “The awareness that Palestine was distinct from Syria and Lebanon is said to have always been present in the Arab and Muslim consciousness.”
An early nineteenth-century Egyptian historian, ‘Abd ar-Rahman al-Jabarti, referred to the inhabitants of El Arish in the Sinai Peninsula as Syrians. Palestine was called Southern Syria first in French, then in other languages, including Arabic. …
…Indeed, from the moment Prince Faysal set up a government in Damascus in October 1918, he stressed that Palestine was a part of Syria. At the Paris Peace Conference, where the British, French and Americans sorted out their interests after the war, Faysal called Palestine his “right hand” and promised to work for it as he would for Syria and Iraq. “I assure you, according to the wishes of its people, Palestine will be a part of Syria.” Three months later, Faysal wrote General Edmund Allenby that Palestine “is an inseperable [sic] part of Syria.” 
5. “Zionism certainly accelerated the general development of the region and the process of self-identification of the local majority, but never did the land beyond the Jordan have a religious, social or cultural value comparable to the land between the river and the Mediterranean Sea.
Kamel’s claim is refuted by article 2 of the PLO Charter which states that “Palestine with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate is an indivisible territorial unit.”
Negotiations between Jordan and Israel have now become the only answer to avoiding renewed conflict and violence between Jews and Arabs.
Kerry is kidding himself if he thinks otherwise.

History shines light on the true borders of Palestine

[Published 2 April 2014]

The Nation

Lorenzo Kamel

[This article contains many untrue and misleading statements which I have forcefully rebutted in my article "Palestine - Kerry Can't keep Kidding Himself.]

“Israel opposes the establishment of an additional Palestinian state in the Gaza district and in the area between Israel and Jordan.” 

These words were included in the “peace initiative” presented in May 1989 by Israel’s Labour-Likud national unity government. Twenty-five years later, the “Jordan option” is back and being increasingly mentioned in the media.

These claims are problematic.

The Mandate for Palestine had direct, complete and explicit jurisdiction over the area that, in 1922, became the Emirate of Transjordan for eight months: from July 1920, when King Faisal was thrown out of Damascus, to March 12, 1921, the day of the Conference of Cairo which, in Winston Churchill’s words, sanctioned “the policy to be adopted with regard to Trans Jordania”.

Whenever there is a concrete effort to push forward the peace process, talk about “a substitute homeland” for the Palestinians re-emerges. 

Most of those supporting this scheme claim that well before the partition suggested by the UN General Assembly in 1947, the Zionist movement suffered a mutilation of territory following the unilateral British decision in 1922 to separate Transjordan from the rest of the land subject to the Mandate for Palestine. They argued that the Palestinians already had a sovereign state – Jordan – and that, therefore, Israel, even by incorporating today’s West Bank and Gaza Strip, would comprise only 22 per cent of the whole “historic Palestine”.

It was a “partially legal” time lapse even from the juridical perspective imposed by European powers, given that the Mandate for Palestine was formally assigned to London by the League of Nations on July 24, 1922, becoming operative in September 1923. 

Transjordan was thus part of the Mandate for Palestine with the proviso that Britain might administer it separately and for a period which at best may be considered scarcely relevant.

Read more: 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Jordan and the PLO exposed as the obstacles to peace

[Published 17 March 2014]

Mudar Zahran speaks his mind on resolving the Jewish-Arab conflict in this 27 minute taped interview with Doron Keidar.

He provides an alternative to the destructive discourse which still continues to insist on two Arab states in former Palestine after 20 years of failed negotiations to achieve such an outcome the first time ever in recorded history.

Exiled to Great Britain for daring to speak his mind - Zahran makes some startling and confronting statements that make for gripping viewing.

He identifies the enemy of the Palestinian Arabs as not Israel - but the Arab dictatorships in the 22 Arab states.

"Israel on a bad day is far better than the rest of the world on a good day"

Identifying himself as an orthodox practising Moslem and a Jordanian-Palestinian - he labels the current peace negotiations as a bad idea and urges Obama to stop listening to Arab Governments.

I hope this interview triggers a lot of comments which I will be more than happy to respond to.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Jordan-Palestine ties strained by peace talks

[Published 23 March 2014]

Al Monitor

Mohammad Ad-Fdeilat

Jordanian politicians are good at using a sieve to hide the sun — even the bright sun at the height of summer. Worse, they are convinced of what they are saying, and they try to convince the people, too. They try to address the country’s most difficult problems using slogans that become legally binding without being stipulated by law, and that makes these slogans vulnerable to being replaced by new slogans at any time. Thus, the problems remain unresolved and end up exploding later. This is what is happening with Jordanian-Palestinian relations in Jordan now.

A problem that slogans cannot hide
Jordanian-Palestinian relations have been complicated since the establishment of the Emirate of Transjordan in 1921, which became a kingdom after gaining independence in 1946 and the Palestinian nakba in 1948. The root of the problem is that Palestinian refugees were forcibly moved to the other bank of the River Jordan without the ability to return and became Jordanian citizens in accordance with the Jordanian-Palestinian unity decision of 1949. The latter claimed the Palestinian territories that were not occupied in the nakba as part of Jordan, under the throne of King Abdullah I. The constitution stipulated that the non-occupied lands were an integral part of Jordan and that their inhabitants were Jordanian citizens.

The matter became even more complicated with the June 1967 defeat, in which Jordan lost even more land, over and above those areas lost in the nakba of 1948. After the defeat, more Palestinians in the West Bank moved to Jordan (the East Bank) and became Jordanian citizens.

Then, in 1988, Jordan’s late King Hussein disengaged Jordan administratively and legally from the West Bank, a decision that violated the Jordanian constitution. Jordan justified that move by claiming that Arab pressure was exerted on Jordan to empower the Palestine Liberation Organization, which had been recognized as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinians in 1974. The Jordanian and Palestinian public criticized the decision, which they considered as conceding occupied Jordanian land that was not occupied on unity day.

Jordanian-Palestinian relations have been formed by political decisions taken by the heads of the political structures on both banks of the river. Those decisions have affected the entire structure of the two peoples, whereby any change will collapse the whole structure.

At first, the relationship was marked by sympathy for a people who had lost their land and become refugees dreaming of return. That sympathy developed into active support for a cause that was considered the primary cause of the Arabs. Moreover, the Palestinian cause became a Jordanian cause in the unity framework. But that didn’t last; in the wake of the 1967 defeat, a new terminology appeared: east Jordanians and Jordanians of Palestinian origin. The objective of that terminology was to consecrate the idea that there are two separate peoples and reject the two peoples melting together into one.

East Jordanians feared that the Palestinian majority would crowd them out of the country’s resources and control the Jordanian economy. Thus, east Jordanians rushed to fill the top positions in the state and said that they feared for their national identity. They revolted over losing benefits they would have had were it not for the Palestinian presence.

Racial division was thus established in Jordanian society, and that division was reinforced by the events of Black September in 1970 between the Palestinian resistance and the Jordanian army. This ended with the exit of the Palestinian resistance from Jordan forever.

The Palestinians said that they left Jordan after a massacre that targeted their presence, while the Jordanians said that they protected their country from the ambitions of armed gangs. Each party retains a painful memory of what happened and considers itself the victim.

Amid this complex relationship and the growing racial discourse, the Jordanian government did nothing to address the root of the problem in the historical context that created it. All the government did was adopt the slogan launched by the late King Hussein: “A country of immigrants and supporters.” But the slogan failed to address the problem because it consecrated the notion that there are two peoples in Jordan, with the east Jordanians having a privileged status over Jordanians of Palestinian origin.

Then the king repeated other slogans whenever the Jordanian-Palestinian relationship was tense: “Jordanians from various roots and origins” and “National unity is a red line.” The elite produced its own slogan: “We are all Jordanians for the sake of Jordan and we are all Palestinians for the sake of Palestine.” Under these slogans, it was forbidden to talk about problems in the relationship and the fears of both sides. East Jordanians who raised the slogans “Jordan is for Jordanians” and “Let’s preserve the national identity” were fought. And slogans launched by Jordanians of Palestinian origin, such as “Fair representation in state institutions” and “Those with transgressed rights,” were also fought. The latter slogan was used after a campaign of systematic exclusion, which Jordanians of Palestinian origin considered a denial of their role in building the country.

The “fire under the ashes” ended up burning the “romantic” slogans, and east Jordanians ended up clashing with Jordanians of Palestinian origin. They traded accusations. The Palestinians were accused of “selling their country,” while Jordanians were accused of being “conspirators against the cause.”

The two sides are fighting to control the majority
The Palestinians are not the only ones who were added to Jordan’s demographic makeup. Before them came the tribes that migrated from different Arab countries over the years, and earlier came the Circassians who took refuge from the Tsarist invasion of the Caucasus in the 19th century. There are also the Chechens, the Armenians and the Hijazis who came with the army of the Great Arab Revolt, which was led by King Abdullah I, the son of Sharif Hussein bin Ali. Then came the Iraqis in the wake of the occupation of Iraq in 2003. And today, there are the Syrian refugees.

In all this mosaic of Jordanian society, east Jordanians have no quarrel except with Jordanians of Palestinian origin, who make up one side in the eternal bilateral conflict for the majority.

Official Jordanian statistics show that the number of Jordanians in 1948 was 400,000; that, in the wake of the nakba, the country received 100,000 refugees; that Jordan’s population in 1967 reached 1.2 million and received 400,000 new refugees; that the population in 1990 was 4.17 million and received 300,000 refugees — the Palestinians who were living in the Gulf. The statistics ignore the fact that the latter already had Jordanian nationality and that non-Palestinian Jordanians are also diverse. The statistics make it look like Palestinians were being added to a pure east Jordanian people.

Amid the competition for the majority, the two biggest components recognize that Jordanians of Palestinian origin make up about 35% of Jordan’s 6.5 million people — a figure that has remained constant throughout the history of the relationship, with the rest being east Jordanians — without considering the other components of the social fabric.

A “Catholic marriage” and charges of treason
Efforts to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations aimed at reaching a “final solution” to the Palestinian cause usually raise the tension in Jordanian-Palestinian relations, while that tension declines when the negotiations stall.

The negotiations harm Jordanian-Palestinian relations whenever the proposed solution doesn’t allow for the return of the refugees. Such solutions raise the fears of east Jordanians that Jordan may turn into an alternative homeland for the Palestinians, an idea promoted by the Israeli right. Some fear the formation of a Jordanian-Palestinian confederation, where the Palestinian identity will predominate over the Jordanian one.

Throughout the 66 years of the Jordanian-Palestinian “Catholic marriage,” both sides have accused each other of treason. Therefore, both sides settled on being afraid all the time. Moreover, that fear will continue amid the slogans that try to address the imbalances in the relationship. The latest of these slogans is “in defense of Jordan and Palestine.” It was devised to face the growing racial discourse that accompanied the tour of US Secretary of State John Kerry in the region. Under the slogan of “harmony,” the two sides traded accusations that are sometimes whispered and sometimes said publicly, to assert their inability to reach a final resolution for the relationship.
The above article was translated from As-Safir Al-Arabi, a special supplement of As-Safir newspaper whose content is provided through a joint venture of As-Safir and Al-Monitor.

Author Mohammad al-FdeilatPosted March 23, 2014
Translator(s)Rani Geha

Read more:

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Jordan's King: Jordan is Palestine? That's an Illusion

[Published 23 March 2014]

Arutz Sheva - Israel National News

Elad Benari

Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Saturday hit out at those on the Israeli right who say that a Palestinian state already exists and that it is located in Jordan, Army Radio reported, citing an interview the King gave to the Al-Hayat newspaper.

The King said that anyone who thinks that Jordan is Palestine is living in an illusion.

"The Israeli extremists are misleading when they say that the Palestinian lands should be emptied and that the Palestinians should be exiled to Jordan," he told the newspaper.
“Over the years, since the signing of the peace treaty with Israel, Jordan has adhered to attitudes and policies that support the Palestinian people and their continued existence in a country of their own,” said King Abdullah.

There have been many calls on Jordan to accept the so-called “Palestinian refugees”, considering that the areas liberated by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War were under Jordanian control.

More importantly, since a majority of Jordanians - which was established in 1947 on 77% of the British Mandate of Palestine - are Palestinian Arabs (some 70%), some have suggested the country should rightfully serve as a Palestinian state.

This idea has been supported by many Israeli nationalists, one example being former MK Aryeh Eldad, who has been advocating for this for years.

The Hashemite Kingdom, however, has rejected these calls. Just last month, King Abdullah told the Jordanian parliament that 

“Jordan is Jordan and Palestine is Palestine and nothing but that, not in the past or the future.”

As peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority have continued, there has been growing concern in Jordan over U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s proposed framework agreement and what will be its effect on Jordan.

Jordan's government is hoping to be spared by a popular uprising by having the repressed "Palestinians" removed and sent to Israel as part of a future deal.

Jordan’s Foreign Minister, Nasser Judeh, recently reiterated that Jordan will not be an "alternative home for anybody."

Thursday, March 20, 2014

More on Jordan Really Was Palestine

[Published 20 March 2014]

My right word

Yisrael Medad

In previous posts (here; and also here), I noted that actually the United States opposed Jordan's independnce and acceptance into the UN when first proposed by Great Britain.

One main reason, central to understanduing the concept of the Mandate for Palestine's territorial conceptualization, is that TransJordan was part of "Palestine" and due to the 1924 Anglo-American Convention, Jordan couldn't not exist without having a resolution nof the Jewish national home which was intertwined.

I found now new material from this book

which contains this article:

with further details to my previous posts (and another one) on the opposition to the independence recogntition of Jordan based on the 1924 Anglo-American Convention that confirmed the original status of TransJordan as territory within the Mandate of Palestine area and which was to be part of the historic Jewish homeland.

As argued, until Israel was created, Jordan could not be considered a state.

The information of the political battle behind the scenes:

And there's something here

    Letter, dated July 15, 1946, from Acting Secretary of State Dean Acheson to President Harry S. Truman, recommending that the United States vote in favor of admitting Trans-Jordan into the United Nations, and an attached memo detailing the United States State Department's position on the question of admitting Trans-Jordan to the United Nations. From the Confidential File.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Jordanians fear 'Jordan option' for Palestine

[Published 17 March 2014]
Al Monitor
Jean Aziz

A delegation from the Jordanian Council on Foreign Relations visited Lebanon from March 9-11. The delegation, comprising representatives of a number of leftist, secular and nationalist parties in Jordan, visited Lebanese officials, before heading to Damascus where they met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The delegation then returned to Beirut to voice its concerns and raise the alarm: Jordan, as an independent state, is facing an imminent risk. The displacement of Palestinians from the occupied Palestinian territories has indeed begun and is auguring an impending change in the region’s map. What information and facts have led them to raise the alarm?
Al-Monitor met with the members of the Jordanian delegation, among whom were representatives of political parties, former members of parliament, retired officers, academics and unionists. According to them, Jordanian identity may be threatened by a "Jordan option" that may already be in process. The country’s population is 6.5 million people. According to official figures, while the inhabitants are Jordanians, 43% of them are of Palestinian origin. This phenomenon is the result of the historical intertwining between the Emirate of Transjordan and neighboring historical Palestine. Since this first started, half of the population of Palestine developed a different identity and national cause as the result of the loss of their territories and homeland. Yet, they practically became citizens of the Jordanian state.
After the establishment of the Jordanian state, and notably after the Arab-Israeli wars that took place from 1948 to 1967, the displacement of Palestinians in Jordan continued, until Jordan was hosting around half a million Palestinians who are not included in the statistic of 43%, as mentioned above. This means they were not official Jordanian citizens and were placed in camps built on Jordanian territory. The process of demographic change in Jordan did not end at this level, as noted by the members of the delegation. With the Iraqi war and the US-led invasion of Baghdad, around half a million displaced Iraqis moved to Jordan. There is no accurate data on the numbers of those who returned to Iraq and those who settled in Amman. Finally, the Syrian war erupted, and around 700,000 Syrians were compelled to move from the north to Jordan, which aggravated the problem and the frail demographical structure of this country.

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