Jordan is the Palestinian State: Hussein and Abdullah differ

August 9, 2021 by David Singer
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It is rare for CNN host Fareed Zakaria to issue an apology – but he did so after interviewing Jordan’s King Abdullah II last week.

Zakaria had wrongly attributed the following comments to prominent Israeli diplomat Dore Gold when questioning the King:

“Jordan needs to start thinking of itself as the Palestinian state. In other words, there is a two-state solution, the Palestinian state is Jordan.”

Abdullah’s response to Zakaria was dismissive:

“Jordan is Jordan. We have a mixed society from different ethnic and religious backgrounds… it is our country. The Palestinians do not want to be in Jordan; they want their lands, they want their football team, they want their flag to fly above their houses.”

Jordan – then called Transjordan – was founded on 77% of the territory comprised in the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine – following the San Remo Conference and Treaty of Sevres in 1920 and the 1921 Cairo Conference.

The planned reconstitution of the Jewish National Home in Transjordan was postponed or withheld under article 25 of the Mandate with the result that no Jews live there today – the population being entirely Arab.

Transjordan achieved independence in 1946 – changing its name to Jordan in 1950 after unifying its territory with Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and East Jerusalem conquered by Transjordan in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Only Great Britain and Pakistan recognised Transjordan’s decision.

Zakaria’s apology to Gold was unqualified:

“On last week’s show, I asked King Abdullah about the concept that there would be no stand-alone Palestine state in the future that but instead his nation, Jordan, would become the de-facto Palestine state.  I said the idea had been recently mentioned by long time Israeli diplomat, Dore Gold. I was wrong. Many have talked about that concept, but not ambassador Gold. I apologize for that error.”

One Arab leader who talked about “that concept” was King Abdullah’s father – the late King Hussein – who in 1972:

  • lauded his grandfather King Abdullah 1’s legacy:

“On 24 April 1950, the new Jordanian National Assembly – with its two chambers, deputies and senators – representing the two Banks held an historic meeting which marked the first real step in modern Arab history towards Arab unity, which the revolution has advocated since its inception. The meeting announced the unity and merger of the two Banks in a single independent Arab State, a parliamentary monarchy known as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.”

  • pointed out the memorable period that followed during King Hussein’s reign:

“The primary fact that the unity of the two Banks represented day after day has been that the people in both Banks are one and not two peoples. This fact was manifested for the first time in the reunion of the sons of the East Bank with their emigrant brothers, the sons of the Palestine areas occupied in 1948. It was manifested when the former shared with the latter food and shelter and the sweetness and bitterness of life. This fact became more salient and took deeper roots with every step the State took.

The unity of blood and destiny reached its greatest significance in 1967 when the sons of the two Banks stood together on the West Bank as they have been doing for twenty years and jointly sacrificed their blood on its pure soil. But the struggle was too great for them and its conditions and complexities were too much for their valour. The catastrophe occurred and what happened did happen.”

Abdullah’s repudiation of his ancestors’ reunification of the two Banks of the Jordan River and their Arab populations within one State marks the lowest point in Jordan’s 100 years-old history.

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

Author’s note: The cartoon — commissioned exclusively for this article — is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators — whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades.

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