Sunday, May 4, 2014

Jordan, Sitting on the Edge of Peace

Nadene Goldfoot                                                          

July 25, 1994 with King Hussein I of Jordan;  President Bill Clinton of USA, PM Yitzhak Rabin of Israel This was when the 3 signed the peace treaty with Israel.  

Who has lived traditionally in the land where Jordan now lies? The kingdoms of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Israel and also the Amalekites had lived there   They were all Semitic Canaanite-speakers.   

The Kingdom of Jordan comes from 1921's area that was called Transjordan.  It was detached from the area originally taken by Abdullah, of the Hashemite Kingdom for himself that was designated through the Palestine Mandate to be part of the Jewish National Homeland. Abdullah was a Hashemite, which was a clan of Hashim, Banu Hashim, an Arabian clan which was part of the Quraysh tribe of Arabia.  The English owed Abdullah for helping them fight against the Germans.  They owed the Jews, too, and had given their promise to create the Jewish Homeland out of Palestine.  The Jews wound up with 20% of "their" homeland while the Arabs go 80% of it and are still complaining as they want the remaining 20% that happens to be Israel.  After all, 8,000 square miles of Israel is not a big chunk.

 "In September 1922, Transjordan was officially formed from the British Mandate of Palestine, once the League of Nations sanctioned the British Transjordan proposal which laid down that the Mandate regions to the east of the Jordan River would be kept out from all the stipulations taking care of Jewish colony. Transjordan was governed as a semi-independent province by as-Sayyid Abdullah bin al-Husayn, who was nominated as Emir by the British Government in 1921. After independence, he was made known as King Abdullah I, also Abdullah the Founder."
                                                              King Abdullah II of Jordan

 The Hashemites trace their lineage of DNA to J1ca3d  haplotype which goes back to Mohammad. " The Hashemite royals of Jordan are descended from Al-Hassan bin Ali's (ra) son Al-Hasan al-Muthanna."  The wisest move was that Abdullah I had become the king and not his half brother, Faisal who was a rebel to the idea of peace with Jews.  They have maintained peaceful coexistence since after the 73 War, 41 years ago.  When they reach the 50 year mark I hope both celebrate with a great Jubilee.

The nation was under British control till after the Second World War. The British authorities urged the United Nations in 1946 to endorse a conclusion to British Mandate regime in the territory.  So, in 1946 the British handed over the reigns to Jordan.  They celebrate May 25th as their Independence Day.  This year they will celebrate 68 years of being a state.

In 1948 Abdullah annexed the eastern part of Cisjordan (Judea and Samaria)  which had been designated by the UN as a separate state.  It made up almost 80% of the Jewish Homeland promised, however.  It was now proclaimed as "The Kingdom of Jordan. and he was the king.

 Judea was  formed when King Solomon, the Jewish king, died in 920 BCE.  It came under Roman rule in 63 BCE and was renamed Palaestina in 135 CE when the 3 year battle of Bar Kokhba was finished with Kokhba's death.  For 400 years till 1917, it had been under Ottoman Empire rule of Turkey.  The Empire had sided with the Germans in WWI and lost the war to the Allies (England, USA, France, etc)  Samaria had become the capital of Israel when Judah was formed and included the surrounding lands.  What people call "The West Bank" was the original land  of Israel and Judah.  Originally it had all been Israel, but Judah broke away the southern part to become Judah.

I've often wondered why Jews didn't settle in Judea/Samaria first when they started to return in the 1880's during the first aliyah.  Most Jews who had never left were living in Jerusalem and Safed, two cities that had a high elevation and were more tolerable in the immense heat of the Middle East.  These were the preferable centers in the 1500's.  They were also holy cities.  When Russian Jews returned, they came by ships who entered ports, and there Jews remained till they had their bearings.  Meyer Levin's book, "The Settlers" tells about how the immigrants spread out all over the land and developed towns and cities as well as a kibbutz and later a moshav.  If we Americans think we had problems pioneering our West, you should see what they also went through.  They had very similar problems except that the Ottoman Empire did have some sort of government control going on and they came down pretty hard on the Jewish settlers.  Then again, the Sephari Jews returned at the creation of Israel in 1948 when they were tossed out of their states because of this, so came to Israel and found refuge where there were vacancies and jobs.  

From 1952 the country of Jordan was ruled by Abdullah's  grandson, Hussein.

By 1967, Hussein entered the Six-Day War with Egypt and Syria against Israel but the Arabs lost which meant that Israel took over Judea and Samaria, the ancient homeland of the Jews.

 In 1970 he was forced to expel the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization under Arafat) from his country because they tried to take over in what was called Black September. The war lasted from September 1970 to July 1971.   Later reconciled with the old leader.  In fact, there exists 2 states today, Israel and Jordan which is basically the Palestine state right next to Israel.  He doesn't want anymore Palestinians entering his state.  Who acted as a protector of Judea and Samaria?  Why, Hussein, of course.  A change of heart happened and in 1988 he announced that he was not going to act as their protector anymore and was leaving it to the PLO to manage.  His own supporters come from the Bedouin tribesmen of Jordan while a majority of the population are Palestinians.

" Wadi Araba Treaty) was signed in 1994. The signing ceremony took place at the southern border crossing of Arabah on 26 October 1994. Jordan was the second Arab country, after Egypt, to sign peace accord with Israel.  The treaty settled relations between the two countries, adjusted land and water disputes, and provided for broad cooperation in tourism and trade. It included a pledge that neither Jordan nor Israel would allow its territory to become a staging ground for military strikes by a third country.
The population of Jordan is about 5,568, 565 with about 95% being Sunni Muslims.  Islam is their state religion, of course.  They now face a new danger of al Qaeda and other terrorists from a takeover. The real danger lies in the Muslim Brotherhood who will try to overcome the government.  Jordan is also facing Syria's refugee problem by building several refugee camps for them.   Zaatari Refugee Camp was built in 2012 and held 144,000 by 2013.  It's like a large city in size. Jordan  built another camp to hold 130,000.   "UNHCR remains responsible for the refugees and the camps are managed by the Jordanian Hashemite Charity Organization / JHCO.   In March 2013 the UNHCR called the German Mr Kilian Kleinschmidt to be the "Senior Field Coordinator" of the first camp."  Food is a scarce commodity. 

Resource:  The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia
Messages From a Syrian Jew Trapped in Egypt by Nadene Goldfoot, Jack Huffman-detail on Syrian refugee camps.

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