Trump, Israel, Jordan and PLO need to confirm Palestine’s boundaries

August 14, 2017 by David Singer
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President Trump’s attempt to end the Jewish-Arab conflict could well hinge on Israel, Jordan, the PLO and Trump confirming the boundaries of former Palestine under the 1922 Mandate for Palestine (Mandate territory)…writes David Singer.

Defining the territory within which the competing claims of Jews and Arabs must be resolved is a first prerequisite to ending a conflict that has raged for the last 100 years.

False claims still continue to be made that Israel comprises more than 75% of the Mandate territory whilst Judea and Samaria (West Bank), East Jerusalem and Gaza comprise the remaining 25%.

The latest such misleading claim appeared in the following article :

“On the 14 of May 1948, the state of Israel was declared. By the time Israel and the Arab States signed the Armistice agreement in 1948, Israel had gained control over 75% of mandate Palestine.” 

The article further asserts that the 1967 Six Day War was:

“the beginning of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, and annexation of East Jerusalem, territories which together made up the remaining 22% of Mandate Palestine.”

The article fails to inform readers that:

  1. in 1946 – 78% of the Mandate territory became a sovereign independent Arabs-only, Jew-free State called the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan – renamed Jordan in 1950
  2. Israel is only 17% of the Mandate territory
  3. Judea and Samaria (West Bank), East Jerusalem and Gaza comprise the remaining 5% of the Mandate territory.

Israel, the PLO and Jordan have each separately acknowledged this geographically-accurate territorial subdivision of former Palestine- as the following statements make clear:

  1. Abba Eban – Israel’s former ambassador to the United Nations – said in Newsweekon 2 December 1974: 

“Palestine comes into modern history as a region extending on both sides of the Jordan, comprising the present sovereign territories of Israel and Jordan and the administered areas of the West Bank and Gaza. Of this original Palestine, 80 per cent became an exclusively Arab domain through the separation of Trans-Jordan from Palestine.” 

  1. Yasser Arafat – the first PLO Chairman told the New York Review of Books on 25 June 1987:

” Jordan and Palestine until 1945 were one State, actually. After the Second World War, Churchill himself said, “This is Transjordan, and this is Palestine. Before that Jordan was an emirate …completely part of Palestine”

  1. Transjordan’s King Abdullah addressed the Arab League meeting in Cairo on 12 April 1948:

“Palestine and Transjordan are one, for Palestine is the coastline and Transjordan the hinterland of the same country”

Many more similar statements exist from Jewish, Arab and other sources.

If Trump concludes that a second Arab State – in addition to Jordan – is required in the Mandate territory – then Jordan – not only Israel, Judea and Samaria (West Bank), East Jerusalem and Gaza –should be included in determining that third State’s possible location.

However such a second Arab State – if governed by the PLO – the sole spokesman for the Palestinian Arabs since 1974 – would pose an existential threat to the continued existence of both Jordan and Israel as sovereign independent States – since article 2 of the PLO Charter expressly states:

“Palestine, with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate, is an indivisible territorial unit.”

One Jewish State and two Arab States in the territory of the Mandate will exacerbate – not resolve – the conflict.

Jordan – 78% of the Mandate territory – must be part of any territorial resolution.

Territorial negotiations – like gridiron and basketball – can only be played out within clearly designated boundaries.

Geography is indeed the key to Trump’s hopes of succeeding where all others have failed.


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

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