Palestine – Merging Banks Can Reap Huge Dividends

October 19, 2012 by David Singer
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Prince Hassan Bin Talal – Jordan’s former Crown Prince and the uncle of Jordan’s current ruler – King Abdullah – has floated a possible new diplomatic initiative by reminding the world that the West Bank was once part of Jordan…writes David Singer

Prince Hassan pointed out this very important historic and geographic fact whilst addressing a meeting of the Ebal charity organization in Nablus on 9 October.

That meeting had been organised by Jordanian Senate President Taher Al-Masri – indicating that the King in all likelihood would have been given advance notice and approved what Prince Hassan intended saying.

The Jordanian website Almustaqbal-a.com reported that Prince Hassan told the meeting:

” the West Bank is part of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which included both banks of the [Jordan] River”

 The report added:

“The attendees understood that Prince [Hassan] is working to reunite both banks of the [Jordan] River, and commended him for it.”

 The West Bank and Transjordan had existed as one territorial entity between 1950-1967  following Transjordan’s occupation of  the West Bank in 1948 after the newly declared State of Israel had been attacked by six invading Arab armies.

Transjordan – as a result – changed its name to “Jordan” and named the territory west of the Jordan River as the “West Bank”. Until then – the West Bank had been known for thousands of years as “Judea and Samaria” – the biblical and ancestral homeland of the Jewish people.

These decisions were not taken in isolation by a victorious occupier against the wishes of a defeated and dispirited population – but at the request and urging  of the exclusively Arab population living in Judea and Samaria. All the Jews who had been living there prior to the 1948 war had been dispossessed and forcefully driven from the area conquered by Transjordan.

A conference was held in Jericho on 1 December 1948 – attended by several thousand people including the  mayors of the towns of Hebron, Bethlehem, Ramallah, the Arab Legion Military Governor General and military governors from districts in Judea and Samaria, and other notables.

The meeting resolved:

“Palestine Arabs desire unity between Transjordan and Arab Palestine and therefore make known their wish that Arab Palestine be annexed immediately to Transjordan. They also recognize Abdullah as their King and request him proclaim himself King of the new territory.”

Wells Stabler – America’s charge d’affaires in Transjordan – reported to the Acting Secretary for State in a confidential cable dated 4 December 1948  that following the meeting – a large delegation proceeded to the King’s winter quarters at Shuneh to present the resolution to the King and request his acceptance. The King had replied that  the matter must be referred to his government and that he must also ascertain the views of  other Arab states. Although usual jealousies and frictions had been apparent during the meeting, the King believed it to be of significance and might be regarded by him as his mandate from Palestine Arabs.

On 6 December Stabler sent a secret cable to the Acting Secretary for State in which he reported that UN Acting Mediator Ralph Bunche had met with the King – when the following matters had been discussed:

  1. The King believed that annexation of Arab Palestine to Transjordan would be an “actual help” in reaching a final settlement.
  2. Arab Palestine was then in a vacuum which needed to be filled and Transjordan was in best position to do it.
  3. Basically any Palestine settlement rested with Egypt, Transjordan and Israel. If Egypt and Transjordan could get together on the matter they could overcome any opposition from other Arab states.
  4. Emir Abdel Majid Haidar, Transjordan observer at the United Nations General Assembly had held talks with Egyptians in Paris but without result.
  5. Bunche had hinted to His Majesty that the annexation of Arab Palestine by Transjordan would probably be accepted as fait accompli in view of Transjordan’s present position in Arab Palestine.

The subsequent annexation of the West Bank by Transjordan two years later was only recognised by Great Britain and Pakistan. The failure of other members of the United Nations to recognise such annexation has prolonged a conflict that with a little bit of give and take could have been resolved  more than 60 years ago by negotiations between Israel, Egypt and Jordan.

Jordan lost the West Bank to Israel in the 1967 Six Day War and renounced any any claims to the West Bank in 1988. After 19 years of fruitless negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization since 1993  – the settlement of competing claims by Jews and Arabs to sovereignty in the West Bank still remains undetermined.

Prince Hassan’s statement on 9 October clearly attempts to resuscitate Jordan’s  territorial claim to the West Bank.

Writing in the 1982 Spring issue of the quarterly publication “Foreign Affairs” – Prince Hassan had asserted:

“We Jordanians must add that practically speaking a settlement must also take into account our perceptions. Small as Jordan is, our country is politically, socially, economically, militarily and historically inseparable from the Palestinian issue”

Indeed the fate of Jordan and the West Bank has been tied together ever since both these areas of the former Ottoman Empire were included in the territory covered by the 1922 Mandate for Palestine within which the Jewish National Home was to be reconstituted.

The attempt over the last 19 years ito divide Jordan and the West Bank  into two independent Arab states for the first time ever in recorded history has proved an abject failure – leading Prince Hassan to observe that whilst he did not personally oppose the two state solution – that solution was irrelevant at this stage since:

“both sides, Arab and Israeli, no longer speak of a political solution to the Palestinian problem.”

The vacuum existing in 1948 has returned – and once again Jordan is the party that can fill it by opening negotiations with Israel to end the the Jewish-Arab conflict by reunifying the two banks of the Jordan River – taking into account the vastly changed circumstances to those existing 64 years ago.

The dividends could be immense including

  1. The return to Jordan of  a very substantial part of the West Bank lost by   it in the Six Day War
  2. No residents of the West Bank – either Jew or Arab – having to move   from his present home
  3. The restoration of Jordanian citizenship to the West Bank Arab population
  4. The resolution of the competing claims by both Jews and Arabs to  sovereignty in the West Bank
  5. Placing a political solution to the Palestinian problem in the hands of the Arabs

Seizing this rare opportunity should not be missed.

 

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

Comments

31 Responses to “Palestine – Merging Banks Can Reap Huge Dividends”
  1. Ben says:

    Yes I advocate toppling the various sheidoms and monarchies in the region through uprisings, unless they abdicate peacefully. The Palestinian problem will be resolved sooner if the puppet regimes installed by colonial powers are removed from the scene. For once it will open up space for contending political groups to openly campaign and work and voice a measure of independent policies.

    • David says:

      Ben

      You seem to have no disregard for human life in wanting to see the toppling of sheikhdoms and monarchies in the region through uprisings unless they abdicate peacefully.

      Plunging the region into chaos, violence and bllodshed a la Syria and Libya is surely a certain recipe for disaster.

      If you don’t appreciate that then you are no better than the Muslim fanatics that are doing exactly what you are proposing.

    • Shirlee. says:

      Surely you don’t believe what you are saying Ben?

      You mean “open up space for the Muslim brotherhood” and the poor people will live under a brutal regime and shariah law

      Brilliant idea Ben!! Sheer genius

      • Ben says:

        Hello Shirlee. So the Israelis can have likud and Shas and Yisrael beitinu. Why cannot Arabs have the brotherhood ? Let competing political forces fight it out, the Brotherhood can prove itself and the left in the countries can fight it. that is their business. No need for patronising Zionists to be imperial master of their political decisions.

  2. Ben says:

    hello David

    I did not change my mind. Since the regime has not abdicated, it has to be toppled.

    • David says:

      Ben

      You advocated that the Jordanian king should abdicate on 23 rd October . Because ihe has not abdicated you are now calling for him to be toppled 48 hours later.

      Breathtaking viewpoint indeed.

      Are you prepared to allow him a bit longer to pack up and clear out?

      There are six questions I asked you about your suggestion the King abdicate that remain unanswered by you.

      These are:

      1 Do you know the Hashemite monarchy has ruled Jordan for the last 90 years?

      2 Do you know that the Hashemite monarchy has kept 78% of Palestine as an exclusively
      Arabs only homeland freed from any Jewish claims for the last 90 years?

      3. Why should the Hashemite monarchy abdicate in such circumstances?

      4.Wouldn’t it be better to encourage the Hashemite regime to negotiate with Israel on the future status of the West Bank – about 4% of Palestine- that was occupied and became part of Jordan for 20 years and whose citizens enjoyed Jordanian citizenship from 1950-1988?

      5. If you still believe the Hashemite monarchy should abdicate and hand over power to an elected government – do you also advocate the PLO and Hamas resign and hand over power to an elected government by holding elections as soon as possible in the West Bank and Gaza?

      6. Do you also advocate that all the other monarchies and rulers in the other 21 Arab States abdicate or resign and hold elections in their countries?

      I hope you will answer thes questions in as short a time as you gave King Abdullah to vacate the Royal Palace in Amman.

  3. Liat Nagar says:

    First things first. What David’s suggestion does, if taken up, is delegitimise the Palestinians’ claims to both territory and national inheritance. This would be huge in significance due to their success in promoting themselves in such a way that they are now a world cause in such an active way that Israel is commonly perceived as murderous brute, and their story is assumed as fact when in fact it’s myth, at least insofar as the narrow way in which it’s presented.. Nobody is suggesting that any of the surrounding Arab nations can be trusted, however a way must be found to shift the status quo.

    • david says:

      Liat

      Very insightful comment.

      During the 19 years preceding 1967 there had been no attempt by the Arabs to create another independent Arab state between Israel and Jordan – even after all the Jews then living there had been expelled in 1948.

      Israel’s two offers to create such a new state in 2000 and 2008 have been spurned.

      The Arabs have missed the boat yet again.

  4. Paul Winter says:

    I thought about my previous comment and realised that it needs to be augmented.

    If Jordan’s claim to Judea and Samaria are given any status, then Jews wanting to go to Joseph’s Tomb in Shechem (Nablus), to the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron or to the Western Wall in Jerusalem would need the approval of Jordan which by law excludes Jews. It it a kingdom that is likely to be overthrown by islamists. Any Jews in places like Ariel would be dhimmis and people in Gush Etzion, Jewish territory overrun by the Arab Legion in 1948, would find themselves under threat.

    Further, if Jordan aggression is forgiven and there is a return to the 1948 situation, then Egypt would be justified in making a claim to Gaza. But it would also have a claim to remilitiarising the Sinia. And then Syria, which makes no claim on Turkey which took away it Alexandretta province by force, could make a claim on the Golan which the English illegally transferred to the French in 1923. And Iran via Hizballah could validly make a claim to the Shebaa Farms.

    Rewarding aggression does not work. The mohammedan realm is built on bullying and as long as one gives in to that, instead of peace, there will only be submission, abuse and revenge. the mohammedans must learn that they are not a provileged group that can get anything it wants through lies, intimidation and violence.

    I enjoy reading David’s learned and lucid contributions to Jwire. There can be no doubt about his intelligence and his commitment to Judaism and Israel. It is therefore beyond belief that he should propose such an unworkable and dangerous course for Israel.

    • david says:

      Paul

      The problems you raise are real.

      But give negotiations between Israel and Jordan a chance to see if these difficulties can be overcome.

      If they can’t – then those negotiations will end up like the fruitless negotiations between Israel and the PLO over the last 19 years.

      If Israel should then decide to act unilaterally to break the deadlock regarding sovereignty in the West Bank – at least it will know it did everything possible to try and reach an agreement with its enemies before so acting.

      • Paul Winter says:

        I am glad that the problems I raised are recognised as real.

        As regards the point of sqeezing the PA out of negotiations they are avoiding, a point Liat and I both made, one can only comment that it is doomed to fail. It goes against rulings, treaties, power holders’ interests, the popular mood among “Palestinians” and the weight of the IOC. It is a non-starter.

        Israel cannot trust Jordan. The Hashemites are a foreign minority and the Bedouin have become islamists. The kingdom is likely to fall and giving control of Judea and Samaria to its successor is as wise as giving Gaza to Hamas via the PA. This when abu Mazen is tweeting that the occupation of pre-1948 Palestine i.e. Israel, must end.

        The conclusion that Israel must try everything before it acts unilaterally begs the question of why Israel should do any more after the offers of Barak and Olmert were rejected and the Arabs refuse to negotiate unless Israel agrees to surrender unconditionally.

        This desparate search after search for some peace that the Arabs refuse because it would mean that the umma accepts the existence of a Jewish state in the waqf, reminds me of Rumkowski of the Lodz ghetto. At one time he demanded that the Jews give up their children
        to allow the adults to continue to work and thus survive. A similar high price – national suicide -for “peace” by the Jewish state in unconscionable.

        Israel has done everything for peace. The Arabs are doing everything for war. Enough!

        • David says:

          Paul

          I would prefer the certainty that Israel tried everything before taking any further unilateral action in the West Bank as it did in Gaza in 2005 with such disastrous results.

          If negotiations failed with Jordan then seek negotiations with the Arab League and the OIC.

          Talking does not mean ceding or compromising Israel’s national interests.

          The possible consequences of not talking could be catastrophic for both Jews and Arabs.

  5. Liat Nagar says:

    What a refreshing and appropriate option, as long as none of the limiting factors involving Israel between 1950 and 1967 came into place, particularly in regard to Jerusalem.
    It’s perhaps not very likely, however, that the Jordanians will make their thoughts on the West Bank more public due to the likely outcry it would provoke amongst the Palestinians?

    • david says:

      Liat

      Remember the West Bank Arabs were Jordanian citizens and had Jordanian citizenship from 1950-1988. Restoring that citizenship will be an attractive incentive in any negotiations between Israel and Jordan.

      The Israel-Jordan peace treaty already contains agreed negotiating parameters covering the thorny issues of Jerusalem,refugees and water,

      Prince Hassan speech appears to have signaled Jordan’s readiness to step into the negotiating shoes of the Palestinian Authority when Oslo is irrevocably declared to be dead and buried.

  6. Paul Winter says:

    Seizing this rare opportunity to commit national suicide should be dismissed out of hand by Israel.

    The Jordanian claim to territory the occupied illegally, then were evicted when they waged aggressive war and then formally relinquished is uttterly baseless. It is a matter of power challenging and another attempt at underminig Israel’s security. It is a response to the Levy report.

    Anyone who thinks that once a Jordanian claim to Judea and Samaria is given any status that it will not then lay claims to all of the territory is once occupied, including the western part of Jerusalem is fooling himself. Even entertaining the Jordanian chutzpah is ti take leave of one’s senses; we are not dealing with a Western nation, but one which finds the existence of the Jewish state and abhorrence.

    Apart from renegotiating all agreements and persuading the PA to hand over the reigns of government to aHeshemite regime holding on to power by its fingernails against jihadis aligned with its competitor in Gaza, the threat of an unstable regime controlling the 5 access ways through the Judean hills and the heights overlooking Tel Aviv and Ben Gurion Airport is unthinkable.

    There is only one way to settle the Jewish/mohammedan dispute: either the PA and Hamas go to elections and negotiate treaties with Israel or Israel annexes territories and makes arrangements that ensure its security. Letting Jordan or any other entity negotiate about Gaza, Judea and Samaria, would place Israel in a position of weakness in a region where only strength is respected.

    • david says:

      Paul

      If you are right then any negotiations between Israel and Jordan will not get anywhere – in much the same manner as the failed negotiations between.Israel and the PLO.

      I believe however that negotiations between Israel and Jordan need to be held as they offer the best chance of achieving internationally recognized sovereignty in the West Bank for the first time since Great Britain pulled the plug in 1948.

      The Hashemite regime is certainly facing challenges as are all Arab regimes in the area. However the Hashemites have achieved and maintained for the last 90 years what no other Arab state or Arab leader has been able to do – keeping 78% of Palestine promised for the Jewish homeland free of Jews and exclusively reserved for the occupation of the Arab residents of former Palestine.

      Jordan made a bad mistake getting into the Six Day War when warned by Israel to stay out.

      Negotiations with Israel will offer Jordan the prospect of having that decision substantially reversed.

      Prince Hassan did not make his statement for nothing.

      • Paul Winter says:

        David, before stating that negotiations between Jordan and Israel will get nowhere, if I am right, the prior question to ask is what is there to negotiate when a peace treaty has already been proposed, negotiated and signed.

        If anything, for Prince Hassan to propose negotiations on a claim Jordan is now making on Judea and Samaria, territories it formally relinquished, indicates that no treaty any Arab state makes with Israel is worth the ink of the signatures.

        That you support it so strongly makes me suspect – and I have absolutely no evidence – that there are some behind the scenes discussions to cut the PA out of the process and to impose a peace on the “Palestinians”.

        It won’t fly! Getting the Jordanians to impose quiet by its traditional means, something Israel is not allowed by the international community, will only undermine the Heshemite kingdom as it will be denounced as a lackey of the Jews.

        The dividends about which you originally wrote are great but do not answer the practical difficulties that I raised: a Hamas takeover in Jordan with guns over Tel Aviv, remilitarisation of Sinai, guns over Galilee from Golan. In renegotiating the treaty with Jordan Israel must do a SWOT analysis: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Focusing exclusively on the opportunities is catastrophic.

        An even more basic question is why is everyone so desparate for peace when its main benficiaries, the Palestinian Arabs, are doing everything to avoid it. Such a search for peace reveals a desparation which is the only success that the “Palestinians” have had. Telling them to get real or drop dead is one essential step to take. Another essential step it to attain the realisation that the Jewish/mohammedan dispute is not territorial but ideological and it therefore its only solution is the demise of one or the other. Until Islam abandons the 7th century, the only choice Israel and the West is to stand firm and well armed.

        • david says:

          Paul

          You ask:

          “David, before stating that negotiations between Jordan and Israel will get nowhere, if I am right, the prior question to ask is what is there to negotiate when a peace treaty has already been proposed, negotiated and signed.”

          My answer:

          The provisions of Article 3 (2) need to be negotiated between Israel and Jordan.

          That article provides:

          “The boundary, as set out in Annex I (a), is the permanent, secure and recognized international boundary between Jordan and Israel, without prejudice to the status of any territories that came under Israeli military government control in 1967.”

          Israel negotiating the status of those territories with Jordan under their signed peace treaty is relevant and appropriate,

          Jordan should have come to the negotiating table long ago. Any attempt by it to do so was however precluded by the negotiating processes commenced with Oslo in 1993, the Bush Roadmap in 2004 and the Annapolis process in 2007. They are all dead in the water.

          Jordan now appears ready to make up for lost time and lots of deaths and suffering by both Jews and Arabs during the past 19 fruitless years of negotiations between Israel and the PLO.

          That should be welcomed by anyone who wants to see real progress towards ending the conflict between Jews and Arabs.

          Welcome any such negotiations and have confidence in Israel to be aware of and ensure that your very real concerns are addressed in those negotiations.

  7. Ben says:

    Singer was writing that Jordan is a part of Palestine, now Palestine is a part of Jordan (At least the West Bank)! Jordan is essentially an imperial creation of Churchill. The only thing to encourage is the toppling of the puppet hashemite monarchy through an uprising as in Syria. The ethnic Palestinians of Jordan and the West Bank can then jointly decide their future.

    • Shirlee. says:

      Ben

      What makes you think the Arabs of Judea and Samaria want a change and a home of their own.?

      Goodness only knows, they’ve had enough opportunities for it and knocked it back. They want nothing less than the land ‘from the river, to the sea’. As is evidenced by the map I picked up in Jerusalem

      • Ben says:

        Gaza is on the sea and the West Bank is on the river. The land colonised by the Zionists is in the middle. The Palestinians have agreed to accept this – Israel keeps expanding settlements and the barrier to occupy the rest of Palestine.

        By the way I am willing to substantiate evrey claim I make here with evidence. You are welcome to the debate .

    • Paul Winter says:

      Well done, Ben, you again expose your ignorance. THERE ARE NO INDIGENOUS “PALESTINIANS”!!!

      When the rump British Mandate was recommended for partition, it was between Jews and Arabs. When UNWRA was set up there was no mention of a Palestinian people. Arafat referred to Syria as northern Palestine and Hafez al-Assad referred to the “West Bank” as southern Syria.

      That the “Palestinians” were not a separate people was stated by Ahmad Shukhairy in 1956, by Zohair Mohsen in 1977, by Azmi Bishara in 2009 and by Hamas’ Fathi Hamad in March of this year. Ion Pacepa revealed the the “Palestinian people” was created by the KGB in 1964.

      Referring to the kingdom of Jordanian as a “puppet” regime reveals a far left mind-set. Abdullah is not serving the interests of any Western administration. Delegitimising it as such is pure nonsense.

      The uprising in Syria started out as a revolt against the minority Allawite dictatorship. It has been taken over by foreign jihadis and the battles are sectarian rather than national or prodemocracy.
      Lauding it as an act of self-determination is by use of far left blinkers.

      The only sensible conclusion is that Jordan is Palestine and that’s where all the Arabs who refuse to live as peaceful and loyal citizens (who accept their responsibilities to pay taxes and perform national service) of the Jewish state of Israel must go.

      • Shirlee. says:

        Thanks for this Paul. I was under the impression that the term ‘Palestinian’ was coined in 1967.

      • Ben says:

        Obfuscatiom of truth as usual. The Arabs choose to call themselves Palestinians, they can choose to call themselves maritians – which is not the point. By the way speaking of ignorance, you might be interested in finding more about the Nida Filistani or the Anglo-Palestine Bank.

        • Paul Winter says:

          Obfuscation means the disguising of facts; covering by smoke, if you will. What great TRUTH do you claim I am trying to hide. Claims are easy, substantiating them requires the marshalling of facts.

          True, the Arabs can call themselves anything they like and I would call them many things they don’t like. The obvious point that eludes you, is that when the Arabs call themselves “Palestinians”, they do so to create an fake identity to challenge a genuine people – the Jews – and their right to self-determination.

          As you well know the Anglo-Palestinian Bank became an Israeli bank, the local Arabs were not up to banking. The NIda Filistina was just one of the groups that saw themselves as something other than Southern Syrians when the Syrians rejected them and went their own way. So what. There was also a group called al Fatat, which was a nationalistic movement copying the Jews. Never got any further than the PLO or Hamas all to busy fighting each other for power, money, religious purity, identity as communists, fascists, nationalists, pan-Arabs, tribes/clans, modernists or Salafi variants.

          As long as the mohammedans are murdering each other over anything like in Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Libya etc, people like you, Ben, who champion a fake folk – the Pals – are doing nothing but siding with antisemites, hatred of the Jewish state beiong the one thing that binds all those blood-letting savages.

    • david says:

      Ben

      Jordan is Palestine and Palestine is Jordan has been said by some notable persons – such as the late Yasser Arafat, King Abdullah I and King Hussein.

      The statement is entrenched in the PLO Covenant,

      Are you serious in advocating the toppling of the Hashemite regime through an uprising as in Syria?

      Do you really want to see the same death and destruction visited on Jordan as is happening in Syria?

      Get real.

      • Ben says:

        The Hashemite regime can peacefully abdicate and hand over power to an elected government. Barring which the colonial creation will have be dismatled as in Tunisia and Egypt. It can be done peacefull if the king adicates power and retires to live in luxury in the US or Paris or even in Jordan.

        Jordan is a british creation but is not the whole of Palestine.

        • David says:

          Ben

          We actually agree on two important facts – Jordan was a British creation and Jordan is not the whole of Palestine – only 78%.

          That is a big breakthrough.

          Now you state the Hashemite regime can abdicate peacefully. That is not what you said before when you spoke of” the only thing to do was to encourage the toppling of the puppet hashemite monarchy through an uprising as in Syria.

          Your change of mind is welcomed – but there are now six questions for you to answer:

          1 Do you know the Hashemite monarchy has ruled Jordan for the last 90 years?

          2 Do you know that the Hashemite monarchy has kept 78% of Palestine as an exclusively
          Arabs only homeland freed from any Jewish claims for the last 90 years?

          3. Why should the Hashemite monarchy abdicate in such circumstances?

          4.Wouldn’t it be better to encourage the Hashemite regime to negotiate with Israel on the future status of the West Bank – about 4% of Palestine- that was occupied and became part of Jordan for 20 years and whose citizens enjoyed Jordanian citizenship from 1950-1988?

          5. If you still believe the Hashemite monarchy should abdicate and hand over power to an elected government – do you also advocate the PLO and Hamas resign and hand over power to an elected government by holding elections as soon as possible in the West Bank and Gaza?

          6. Do you also advocate that all the other monarchies and rulers in the other 21 Arab States abdicate or resign and hold elections in their countries?

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