Abdullah & The Palestinians...An Arab Lesson In Chutzpah

                                                                             by Gerald A. Honigman


     In a July 1st interview with the Jordanian newspaper, Al-Ghad, Jordan's King Abdullah said that all of the photo-op sessions and such ultimately mean nothing for the Palestinians because they “face a solid enemy that works according to programs and plans.” He then warned that Israel will never have the peace and security it wishes unless it surrenders to the Arabs' territorial demands.

     Now, for someone whose country consists of some 80% of the original borders of Mandatory Palestine--and whose population is mostly "Palestinian" (however one defines that, since most of the latter were actually newcomers to the Mandate themselves)--I can undersdtand the King being a bit nervous about this subject.

     Add to this his Dad's (the late King Hussein) slaughter of more Palestinian Arabs in a month than all who have died during their years trying to destroy Israel, Abdullah's remarks are a lesson, indeed, in chutzpah. " Black September" is how the Palestinian Arabs remember this--when Arafat's PLO allied with Syria in 1970 and tried to seize the bulk of Palestine from the Hashemites and were slaughtered by the thousands in the process. Many fled into Israel to escape the wrath of their brothers. And it was Israel's mobilization in the north which saved Hussein's derriere from further Syrian involvement.

     Periodically, one Jordanian spokesman or another engages this touchy issue, so a reality check is in order. The points are so basic to this conflict that many of us, for a variety of reasons, feel obligated to repeat them over and over.

     Indeed, the Hashemites would be wise to not address this issue to anyone with a knowledge of the actual history involved. Since many do not possess this, Abdullah and his comrades feel free to rant

     To truly appreciate what comes next, first find a map of the Middle East. One of the world will do, but everything will be much smaller. Find Jordan and then find Israel to its west. 

     As has been written often, in 1922, Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill, to reward Arab allies in World War I (remember the movie, Lawrence of Arabia ?), chopped off roughly 80% of the original Mandate of Palestine issued to Great Britain on April 25, 1920--all the land east of the Jordan River (the East Bank)--and created the purely Arab "Emirate of Transjordan"...today's Jordan. This gift of the lion's share of "Palestine" to Arab nationalism was engineered by Churchill in 1921 at the Cairo Conference.

     Emir Abdullah (the current Jordanian King's great-grandfather), who received the land on behalf of the Hashemites who were in the process of getting booted out of the Arabian Peninsula by the rival clan of Ibn Saud (hence, Saudi Arabia today), attributed this gift to an act of Allah in his memoirs. Sir Alec Kirkbride, Britain's East Bank representative, had much to say about this separation of the bulk of the Palestinian Mandate as well.

     "In due course the remarkable discovery was made that the clauses of the mandate relating to the establishment of a National Home for the Jews had never been intended to apply to the mandated territory east of the river (A Crackle of Thorns, page 27)."

     Thus, right from the getgo, Arab nationalism was awarded most of the Palestinian Mandate.

      Pro-Arab professors typically ignore all of this when teaching this topic. The main starting date for them is not 1920, but 1947...the proposed partition of "Palestine." Of course they conveniently omit explaining that this was the second partition of the land--which the Arabs rejected themselves--and pretend that Jordan was always a separate state. Had the Arabs accepted this second partition, they would have wound up with some 90% of the territory. So much for the standard Arab line that Jews got all or most of the land.

     The Jordan-Palestine connection is just one of many well-documented facts (not "Zionist propaganda") completely ignored or distorted by spokesmen such as King Abdullah and, unfortunately, little known by much of the rest of the world. Arabs typically claim Jews got 78% of all of the land, and leading newspapers typically prepare segments on the Middle East ignoring this crucial connection as well.

     When Egypt's Nasser decided, once again, in June 1967 to drive the Jews into the sea, he contacted Abdullah's father, King Hussein (his calls were intercepted and taped) and convinced him to join in the massacre of the Jews. Israel, through the United Nations, begged Hussein to distance himself from Nasser's plans.

     Hussein didn't listen and instead launched an attack on the Jewish half of Jerusalem instead.

     The rest, as they say, is history. And that's how Jordan lost Judea and Samaria (renamed by British imperialism the West Bank)--which it seized in the 1948 fighting (subsequently changing its name from Transjordan-to Jordan)--in the first place. Led by British officers, Transjordan joined other Arab countries in attacking a miniscule, reborn Israel in 1948, trying to nip it in the bud.

    As I am forced to repeat too often in order to answer yet another pro-Arab propagandist, whatever will or won't become of the land in question (and a meaningful territorial compromise is a must), it must be noted that the land in question, which the Jordanian king refers to, is disputed territory--not "Palestinian" land.

     Jews lived and owned property there until their slaughter in the 1920s. 

     In reality, the "West Bank" consists of non-apportioned parts of the Mandate, and leading authorities such as Eugene Rostow, William O'Brien, and others have stressed that these areas were open to settlement by Jews, Arabs, and other residents of the Mandate as well. Indeed, hundreds of thousands of Arabs poured into the area from all the region...Arab settlers setting up Arab settlements.

     The League Of Nations Permanent Mandates Commission documented scores of thousands of Arabs entering into Palestine from just Syria alone. Hamas' "patron saint," Sheikh Izzedine al-Qassam, was from Latakia, Syria. Fatah's Arafat, himself, was from Egypt. It's estimated that many more Arabs entered the Mandate, to take advantage of the economic development going on because of the Jews, under cover of darkness and were never recorded...more Arab settlers setting up more Arab settlements.

     Returning to the present, Israel does not deserve the nasty comments it received from Jordan's young king--regardless of the delicate balancing act he must indulge in given the realities of the Jordan-Palestine connection.

     Israel does not seek to rule over millions of Arabs' lives in Judea and Samaria. What it must have is a reasonable compromise over these disputed lands...not the unilateral, Munich style "solution" too much of the rest of the world now has in mind that will return the Jewish State to its nine-mile wide existence of the 1949 armistice--not border--days.


Gerald A. Honigman is a Florida educator who has done extensive doctoral studies in Middle Eastern Affairs. He has created and conducted counter-propaganda programs for college youth, has lectured on numerous university campuses and other platforms, and has publicly debated many anti-Israel spokesmen. His articles and op-eds have been published in hundreds of newspapers, magazines, academic journals and websites around the world. His official website is: http://www.geraldahonigman.com/

Our special thanks to the author for submitting this article. A. G. S.