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We Arabs Ask No Favors…..

GENEVA, Jun 4 2020 (IPS) - In these difficult times for the Palestinian people and for justice, the Government of Israel is proposing to add further to the turmoil by unilaterally absorbing large swathes of the Palestinian West Bank of the Jordan River. It might therefore be fitting to remind the world of the chronology of the events leading up to the creation of the State of Israel in May 1948.

HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal

In 1947, the UN had passed Resolution 181, which clearly divided Palestine into two states, one Arab and one Israeli. Sadly, Israel—almost immediately after coming into being—adopted a policy of intimidation aimed at the civilian population of those areas allocated to Palestine, resulting in the Nakba, the catastrophe which led to the fleeing of the inhabitants of those areas to safe haven in neighbouring countries, and adding further to Palestinian diaspora.

As a consequence of the Israeli aggression, the Palestinian people asked Jordan to intervene to protect and ensure their territory. The Arab Legion, largely commanded by British officers, secured East Jerusalem and the West Bank from Israeli occupation. This led to the Rhodes General Armistice of April 1949.

Subsequently, at the Jericho meeting in 1950, Palestinian notables requested the “Constitutional Union” of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the West Bank and the Old City of Jerusalem. The agreement was that this should prevail until such time as a Palestinian state could come to fruition, without prejudice to the inherent Palestinian right to Self-Determination.

It would be useful to recall that The Partition Plan Resolution of the General Assembly of 1947, upon which Israel relied for its declaration of statehood on the 14th of May 1948, was meaningless unless Israel accepted the UN Charter under which the territory and people of Palestine were already subject to the legal imprint of Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, the Mandate for Palestine 1922, and the UN Charter of 1945.

The Charter expressly included “the principle of self-determination of peoples”. Israel’s attitude to the UN Charter is consistently selective, invoking what assists its case, and ignoring what destroys it.

In November 1947, my grandfather King Abdullah I wrote in an article in the American Magazine: “We Arabs ask no favours. We ask only that you know the full truth, not half of it. We ask only that when you judge the Palestine question, you put yourself in our place.”

The full article can be found on my late brother King Hussein’s website:

These words were written on the eve of the 53rd anniversary of the 1967 war.

HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal served as Crown Prince of Jordan from 1965-1999 alongside his brother, the late King Hussein of Jordan.


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  • davidsinger

    Might I remind HRH Prince El Hassan Bin Talal of what King Hussein wrote in “Uneasy Lies The Head” (page 118):
    “Palestine and Jordan were both under the British Mandate, but as my grandfather pointed out in his memoirs, they were hardly separate countries. Trans-Jordan being to the east of the River Jordan, it formed in a sense, the interior of Palestine”

    Might I remind HRH of what you yourself wrote in Foreign Affairs in Spring 1982:
    “Small as Jordan is, our country is politically, socially economically, militarily and historically inseparable from the Palestinian issue”

    The PLO has rejected a state in 70% of the West Bank under the Trump Plan. The PLO – formed in 1964 – never claimed sovereignty in the West Bank whilst it was “the West Bank of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan” until its loss to Israel in 1967.

    Surely the time has finally arrived for Jordan to start negotiations with Israel on the allocation of sovereignty in this area of 70% of the West Bank rejected by the PLO.

    Jordan and Israel are the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine – Jordan being sovereign in 78% and Israel sovereign in 17% of former Palestine.

    Successful negotiations will see 95% of the Arab residents of the West Bank having their Jordanian citizenship 1950-1988 restored.

    The two-state solution contemplated by article 25 of the Mandate for Palestine – Jordan and Israel – will be finally concluded and with it an end to the 100 years old Jewish-Arab conflict over the territory of Palestine.

    Jordan cannot sit on the sidelines any longer. Jordan is part of the problem and it must now be part of the solution. Hoping the PLO will change its mind over the next four years is a recipe for chaos and destabilization.

    Failure to engage with Israel before 1 July could see renewed PLO-instigated violence and conflict in the region. Jordan is the linchpin to prevent this happening.