Hashemite rule in Jordan on collision course with Trump and Israel

April 8, 2019 by David Singer
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King Abdullah seems increasingly hell-bent on ending 99 years of Hashemite-dynasty rule in Jordan.

This possibility is emerging as Abdullah is:

  • Seemingly refusing to commit to negotiating with Israel on President Trump’s soon-to-be-released deal of the century to end the Jewish-Arab conflict and
  • Taking active steps to place the Jordan-Israel Peace Treaty in jeopardy.

Transjordan (renamed Jordan in 1950) has always been the key to resolving competing territorial claims by both Arabs and Jews in former Palestine.

Transjordan comprised 78% of the territory placed under the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine after being wrested from 400 years of Ottoman Empire sovereignty during World War 1. Mandatory Palestine was designated in April 1920 by the Principal Allied Powers at the San Remo Conference and in August 1920 by article 95 of the Treaty of Sevres as the location for reconstitution of the ancient and biblical homeland of the Jewish people.

Transjordan’s first Hashemite ruler – Abdullah I – arrived there in November 1920.

Abdullah was en route by train from Hijaz to Syria with armed forces to assist his brother Feisal in his struggle with France to retain power in Syria. Winston Churchill – at France’s request – offered Abdullah an Emirate in Transjordan – which Abdullah gratefully accepted on 11 April 1921.

Feisal was removed from Syria by the French and installed as ruler of Iraq under the Anglo-Iraqi Treaty dated 10 October 1922.  France became the Mandatory for the territory comprised in the Mandate for Syria and Lebanon.

These British-Franco machinations cost the Jewish people dearly – when the Mandate for Palestine – adopted unanimously by all 51 members of the League of Nations on 24 July 1922 – denied the Jewish people the right to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in any part of Transjordan (Eastern Palestine) and restricted that right to the remaining 22% (Western Palestine).

The Jews reluctantly accepted this decision. The Arabs didn’t.

In 1946 Transjordan was granted independence by Great Britain.

In 1948 – immediately after the Mandate ended and Jews declared the State of Israel – Transjordan invaded Western Palestine conquering Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem (comprising 4% of Mandatory Palestine) – and unified these areas with Transjordan to form a new territorial entity – Jordan – encompassing 82% of Mandatory Palestine completely devoid of Jews.

The founding Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Charter in 1964 specifically excluded any PLO claim to sovereignty in Judea and Samaria.

In the 1967 Six Day War Israel captured Judea and Samaria from Jordan. The PLO – claiming Jordan and Israel to be one indivisible territorial unit – removed its non-claim to sovereignty from the revised 1968 Charter.

In September 1970 the PLO unsuccessfully tried to overthrow Jordan’s Hashemite ruler King Hussein. Israel helped save Hussein.

Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty 1994 (Peace Treaty) – which has withstood many events that could have seen its termination.

That Treaty is again under threat – as Jordan has:

  • indicated it is not prepared to renew an expired 25-year lease of Jordanian sovereign territory farmed by Israelis and
  • given the PLO 40% representation on the body charged with administering the Moslem Holy Sites in Jerusalem – breaching the Washington Declaration and the Peace Treaty.

Jordan’s resistance to negotiating with Israel on Trump’s plan could see Trump shelving it and abruptly ending the 2018 five years $1.275 billion America–Jordan Memorandum of Understanding underpinning Jordan’s security and stability.

The PLO – as in 1970 – is waiting in the wings as current ongoing unrest in Jordan is destabilizing continuing Hashemite rule there.

Abdullah might find that spurning Trump and Israel could see him facing the PLO on his own.

David Singer is a Sydney lawyer and foundation member of the International Analysts Network

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