Palestine – Kerry Can’t Keep Kidding Himself…writes David Singer

April 6, 2014 by David Singer
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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.

 David Singer is a Sydney Lawyer and Foundation Member of the International Analysts Network

Comments

8 Responses to “Palestine – Kerry Can’t Keep Kidding Himself…writes David Singer”
  1. David Singer says:

    1. You claim the PLO Charter is irrelevant – although the PLO is the sole spokesman for the Palestinian Arabs.

    2. You claim that the PLO Charter only applied to the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean – which is not supported by article 2 of the Charter.

    If you are correct – please explain why Arafat tried to take over Jordan in 1970.

    3. You ignore statements by Arab leaders such as Arafat, Abu Iyad, King Abdullah 1, the PNC Council and King Hussein averring that Jordan is Palestine and Palestine is Jordan.

    4. You claim the Note from the Secretary General to the League of Nations did not mention what I claim – although I quoted the Note verbatim.

    5. You claim that the Mandate was a joint mandate comprised of two states. This is rubbish. There were no states in existence until 1946. Under Article 5 of the Mandate:
    “Mandatory shall be responsible for seeing that no Palestine territory shall be ceded or leased to, or in any way placed under the control of, the Government of any foreign Power. ”

    The path to a peaceful resolution of the competing claims to sovereignty in the West Bank lies in direct negotiations between Israel and Jordan – the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine.

    • David Singer,
      1. “You claim the PLO Charter is irrelevant – although the PLO is the sole spokesman for the Palestinian Arab”:
      I explained you that to mention the PLO Charter is not a way to disporive that “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”. The Nabi Musa Festival, just an example among many others, involed only people from present-day Israel and the Palestinian Territories. I also quoted Abū Khālid Thawr Ibn Yazīd al-Kalā‘ī (764–854): “The holiest place [al-quds] on Earth is Syria; the holiest place in Syria is Palestine; the holiest place in Palestine is Jerusalem [Bayt al-maqdis]”.

      2. “which is not supported by article 2 of the Charter”:
      The PLO charter, pretty much irrelevant bin this discussion, argues simply that “Palestine, with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate, is an indivisible territorial unit”: no more, no less.

      3. “If you are correct – please explain why Arafat tried to take over Jordan in 1970”:
      Pleasy, I don’t want to repeat things: “For advocates of Jordan-is-Palestine, such claims suggest Arab agreement that Palestine and Jordan are identical. But this interpretation distorts the real character of these remarks, which are not disinterested analyses but propaganda ploys and declarations of hostile intent. Minimally, they establish diplomatic positions within inter-Arab arena. Maximally, they assert rights to expand and rule other regions; the PLO hopes to stake out a claim to territory it does not control; Amman seeks to protect territories it either controls or hopes one day to control again”.

      4. “You ignore statements by Arab leaders such as Arafat, Abu Iyad, King Abdullah 1, the PNC Council and King Hussein averring that Jordan is Palestine and Palestine is Jordan”:
      I did not ignore them. As I pointe out, in order to understand the reasons behind the political statements made by the future founder of the OLP Ahmad ash-Shuqayri (1908-1980) and other Arab leaders, often cited in order to negate the existence of a particular Palestinian identity see D. Pipes, Is Jordan Palestine?: “For advocates of Jordan-is-Palestine, such claims suggest Arab agreement that Palestine and Jordan are identical. But this interpretation distorts the real character of these remarks, which are not disinterested analyses but propaganda ploys and declarations of hostile intent. Minimally, they establish diplomatic positions within inter-Arab arena. Maximally, they assert rights to expand and rule other regions; the PLO hopes to stake out a claim to territory it does not control; Amman seeks to protect territories it either controls or hopes one day to control again”.

      5. “You claim the Note from the Secretary General to the League of Nations did not mention what I claim – although I quoted the Note verbatim”:
      Yes, you quoted it verbatin, but is doesnt state that “it was only the provisions of the Mandate relating to the reconstitution of the Jewish National Home in Palestine”

      6. “You claim that the Mandate was a joint mandate comprised of two states”:
      Read what I wrote above. This is what the Report for the Mandate clarified:
      In view of the fact that Transjordan was a mandated territory, and since it was not excepted from the provisions of Article 24 of the Mandate, would it not be possible for the mandatory Power to take the necessary steps in order that the Commission should receive regularly the laws and other regulations promulgated in Transjordan?”
      In Yithak Gil-Har’s words: “Great Britain had always treated Trans-Jordan as a political entity completely separate from Palestine. Its inclusion within the framework of the Palestine Mandate was an outcome of the political events following the fall of Faisal’s government in July 1920. The Palestine-Trans-Jordan boundary served as a political barrier separating two states. Therefore, the postulation by some writers that the boundary was merely administrative in its character, delineating two territories subjected to the one British rule within the British Empire has no foundation in reality”.

      7. “The path to a peaceful resolution of the competing claims to sovereignty in the West Bank lies in direct negotiations between Israel and Jordan – the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine”:
      This is a solipsistic ideology that want to pass over the heads of a local palestinian population that has the full right to self-determonate its present and future (especially considering the price that they already paid so that your dream could become true)

      8. I conclude with the words of the jurist Eugène Borel (mediator for the League of Nations), April 18, 1925: “Under the British Mandate, Palestine and Transjordan have each a completely separate organization [organisation entièrement distincte]. We are therefore in the presence of three sufficiently separate States to be considered as distinct Parties”.

      • David Singer says:

        Shmuel Pietra

        This is one of four aliases you have used in responding to my article which has appeared on other web sites.

        You may want to run away from discussing your use of four aliases but I think you owe readers an explanation for your conduct.

        Anyone who considers the PLO and the PLO charter as irrelevant has a massive perceptual problem considering the PLO has been negotiating with Israel over the past 20 years

        Dismissing statements by spokesmen such as Arafat, Abu Iyad , King Abdullah and King Hussein invites the response – do we not trust or accept what Arabs say about the connection of Jordan as being part of Palestine?

        Even you now admit that Transjordan was part of the Mandate for Palestine – which is indeed a big breakthrough

        You need to read the Note of the Secretary General to the League of Nations at the following link:

        http://www.mandateforpalestine

        It is made abundantly clear that the provisions of the mandate relating to the reconstitution of the Jewish national Home in Transjordan were to be postponed or withheld but that Transjordan otherwise remained part of the mandate.

        That position remained until Transjordan was granted independence in 1946 in dubious circumstances and in breach of Article 5 of the mandate. … But that is another story.

        Trying to play down Transjordan’s role as comprising 78% of the territory covered by the Mandate is an exercise in self-delusion that will lead to ending any attempt to peacefully resolve the Arab-Jewish conflict.

        Borel erred in claiming there were two separate states in 1925 when clearly this was not so as article 5 of the mandate made clear.

        There were no separate states in Palestine until Transjordan in 1946 and Israel in 1948.
        Rely on his view at your peril.

        With the collapse of the Kerry negotiations between Israel and the PLO – Jordan remains the last Arab party standing to achieve at least the status quo that existed at 5 June 1967 in so far as is now possible given the changed circumstances on the ground since then.

        So tell us – what motivates you to use four aliases?

  2. Paul Winter says:

    Firstly, congratulations to Du for his/her/hir detailed comments. Very interesting and informative.

    Secondly, my dismay that David is fixated on Israeli/Jordanian talks to sideline the PLO and create and outbreak of peace. I’ve given my reasons previously: the Jordanians don’t want any more “Palestinian” Arabs, the Jordanians don’t want territories they relinquished, the Israelis don’t want to force territories on a state which may well be overthrown and thus have a sovereign hostile state commanding the heights overlooking Tel Aviv and the Arab leadership in Judea and Samaria don’t want to be sidelined and have their perks and power usurped by the “brother” they tried to overthrow who in turn returned the compliment by slaughtering them.

    The simplistic line of ignoring the PA and acting like colonialists disposing of land is a waste of time and is completely outside the real debate. A few serious approached have been put forward by Glick and by Sherman and even those have flaws. Give it a rest David.

    • Thank you, Paul Winter. Unfortunately my comment has been erased. I try to publish it again:

      1) “Kamel’s claim is refuted by article 2 of the PLO Charter”:
      I am not sure how the PLO charter would refute that “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”. Abū Khālid Thawr Ibn Yazīd al-Kalā‘ī (764–854): “The holiest place [al-quds] on Earth is Syria; the holiest place in Syria is Palestine; the holiest place in Palestine is Jerusalem [Bayt al-maqdis]”. The perception of the local population is what it matters.
      The PLO Charter is irrelevant, but also if we decide to focus only on it we should keep in mind that that Charter referred to the land between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean Sea, that is the land on which the “palestinian nationality” applied. The inhabitants of Transjordan were in fact excluded from the scope of Palestinian nationality by Article 21 of the 1925 Palestinian Citizenship Order:
      “For the purpose of this Order: (1) The expression ‘Palestine’ includes the territories to which the mandate for Palestine applies, except such parts of the territory comprised in Palestine to the East of the [River of] Jordan and the Dead Sea as were defined by Order of the High Commissioner dated 1 September 1922”. Government of Palestine, Proclamations, Regulations, Rules, Orders, 1925.

      2) “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…”.

      a) Chaim Weizmann to his wife, July 17, 1918: “I made the acquaintance of Fayṣal […]. He is not interested in Palestine […] He is contemptuous of the Palestinian Arabs whom he doesn’t even regard as Arabs”. Cit. in Weizmann, Litvinoff (ed.), The essential Chaim Weizmann, p. 209.

      b) During WWI Arab nationalists cooperated with Sharif Hussein and his sons in order to have an Arab kingdom. The Palestinians, who were part of this ideology, thought at that time, tactically, that it would be in their interest to be part of the Faisal kingdom in the Bilad al-Sham. That’s why it is the only two years (1918-1920) during which they speak about Palestine as Southern Syria or the kingdom of Faisal. After Faisal is kicked out of Damascus, the next conference doesn’t speak about being part of Syria or the kingdom of Feisal. In the summer of 1920 the episode is finished.

      c) No documents have been produced by the local majority, prior to 1918 or after 1920, which put aside Palestine and all it represented in favor of the concept of “Southern Syria”. In order to understand the reasons behind the political statements made by the future founder of the OLP Ahmad ash-Shuqayri (1908-1980) and other Arab leaders, often cited in order to negate the existence of a particular Palestinian identity see D. Pipes, Is Jordan Palestine?: “For advocates of Jordan-is-Palestine, such claims suggest Arab agreement that Palestine and Jordan are identical. But this interpretation distorts the real character of these remarks, which are not disinterested analyses but propaganda ploys and declarations of hostile intent. Minimally, they establish diplomatic positions within inter-Arab arena. Maximally, they assert rights to expand and rule other regions; the PLO hopes to stake out a claim to territory it does not control; Amman seeks to protect territories it either controls or hopes one day to control again”.

      3. “Transjordan was always included in the annual Report for the Mandate for Palestine presented to the League of Nations Permanent Mandates Commission.” Transjordan was included with this clarification: “In view of the fact that Transjordan was a mandated territory, and since it was not excepted from the provisions of Article 24 of the Mandate, would it not be possible for the mandatory Power to take the necessary steps in order that the Commission should receive regularly the laws and other regulations promulgated in Transjordan?”
      In Yithak Gil-Har’s words: “Great Britain had always treated Trans-Jordan as a political entity completely separate from Palestine. Its inclusion within the framework of the Palestine Mandate was an outcome of the political events following the fall of Faisal’s government in July 1920. The Palestine-Trans-Jordan boundary served as a political barrier separating two states. Therefore, the postulation by some writers that the boundary was merely administrative in its character, delineating two territories subjected to the one British rule within the British Empire has no foundation in reality”.

      As for the Arab Legion: Transjordan was the only political entity in the region, among the ones within London’s sphere of influence, not directly garrisoned by British troops.

      As for “Immigration from Transjordan”: “Now Trans-Jordan has a government entirely independent of Palestine – the laws of Palestine are not applicable in Trans-Jordan nor are their laws applicable here. Moreover, although the High Commissioner of Palestine is also High Commissioner for Trans-Jordan, Trans-Jordan has an entirely independent government under the rule of an Amir and apart from certain reserved matters the High Commissioner cannot interfere with the government of Trans-Jordan […]. Trans-Jordan nationality is recognised […] Palestinians and Trans-Jordanians are foreigners and therefore Trans-Jordan must be regarded as a foreign state in relation to Palestine”. 1945, British High Court (in Jawdat Badawi Sha’ban v. Commissioner for Migration and Statistics)

      4. “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”:
      The Note to which you referred to did not mention what you claim.

      “The seeds for an independent Jew-free Arab State”…In Nazmi Jubeh’s words: “I think that slogans are not useful and do not explain the complexity of things. Any Jew who wants to live in our community, following the rules which this entails, must be free to do so. It’s quite a different story, however, to request that the settlers who arrived here by force and in defiance of international law can ipso facto be entitled to see their actions justified. In other words, those who want to live in a future Palestinian state must do so under the law and not as colonialists. When Israel was created, the Palestinians were already here, and accounted for the vast majority of the local population. This is why there are now over one million Palestinians in Israel, many of whom are known as ‘internally displaced persons’ [IDPs]. In constrast to this, settlers arrived in the Palestinian territories through violence and incentives received in recent years from Israeli governments. Equating the former to the latter is not only simplistic, but also morally reprehensible.”

    • David Singer says:

      Paul

      You sound like the PLO with your three “No’s”

      1. To Glick
      2. To Sherman
      3. To Singer

      What in your view is the next step that should be taken diplomatically to prevent the region plunging into renewed conflict and violence?

      Apropos your comments on my proposal – you are presuming to know Jordan’s position – a fourth “no” – before direct negotiations have even been agreed on.

      Kerry needs to get Israel and Jordan negotiating on the allocation of sovereignty in the West Bank between Arabs and Jews as a matter of urgency.

      Maybe those negotiations will turn out like those between Israel and the PLO over the last 20 years – a total waste of time.

      But no one will know until they are attempted.

      Jordan is the best credentialed of all Arab States to negotiate with Israel. The sooner Jordan sits down with Israel the better.

      • The opposite is the case. To pass over the heads of the local palestinian population is the best recipe for further aggravating this tragic conflict. Next step? Working for the self-determination of the Palestinian people on the last piece of land at their disposal.

  3. Liat says:

    I am so glad Israel has cancelled releasing those prisoners! To do so is for nothing. It doesn’t do us any good in the eyes of the Arabs – they don’t respect it and think we’re fools, as well as assuming weakness. It’s also a travesty of justice for the victims and their families.

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