Sunday, December 28, 2014

How Abdullah I Got Transjordan and More

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                           

What was Britain thinking during the period from 1917-1920 about the Middle East and the mandate they were holding for Palestine?  Most likely oil in Arabia.  A few might have thought of their Arab client states and a Jewish client state coexisting and cooperating under a completely British umbrella.  On December 2, 1917, Lord Robert Cecil had said in London at a large meeting, "The keynote of our meeting this afternoon is liberation.  Our wish is that the Arabian countries shall be for the Arabs, Armenia for the Armenians and Judea for the Jews.
Chaim Weizmann and Emir Feisal
Emir Feisal 
Our Zionist leaders even helped the Arabs and the British in their diplomatic campaign at the Paris Peace Conference and used their own influence in Washington to urge Arab claims.  Emir Feisal wrote on March 3, 1919 to Felix Frankfurter and said, "Dr. Weizmann has been a great helper of our cause, and I hope the Arabs may soon be in a position to make the Jews some return for their kindness.  In other words, each was helping the other present their case for land.
Abdullah I, brother of Emir Feisal with both being sons of Hussein bin Ali, Sharif - Emir of Mecca, Arabia (Feb 1882-July 1951),.  Abdullah was Emir of Transjordan from 1 April 1921 to 25 May 1946.  "The country's name was shortened to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on 3 April 1949.  Abdullah's family had been defeated in tribal warfare that had taken place on the Arabian peninsula and Abdullah had been left without a Kingdom to rule, as had Emir Feisal.  none of the countries that border Israel became independent until the 20th century. 

 Many other Arab nations became independent after Israel.  Why did Britain care?  Again, most likely the oil situation and having 2 kings that could back them.  
Feisal and Abdullah's  father, Hussein bin Ali, had the throne for a short while in Arabia, from October 1924 to December 1925,  but lost it to the Saud family in 1925.  "He was the eldest son of Sharif Hussein bin Ali, the first modern King of Hejaz, and a scion of the Hashemite family. "Saudi forces finally overran Hejaz, which they eventually incorporated into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ali and his family fled to Iraq.
  France wanted to hold the mandate for Syria and Lebanon and was granted control at the Paris Peace Conference.  However, the General Syrian congress offered the throne of Syria to Feisal so he was later installed in Damascus where he set up an administration.  Then the Supreme Allied Council in Paris granted the mandate over Syria and Lebanon to France, anyway.  In return, on July 1920, the French ordered Feisal out of the country.  Here Lawrence of Arabia and the Arab Bureau had worked very hard to get him that crown, so instead Britain offered the throne of Iraq to Feisal.  The Brits had wanted to give Iraq's crown to Feisal's younger brother, Abdullah ibn-Hussein, who now was left without a throne!

So, about Halloween  time of October 1920, Abdullah took some 1,500 Turkish ex-soldiers and Hejaz (Arabia) tribesmen, seized a train on the Hejaz Railway, and entered eastern Palestine which was Jewish territory.  Here he announced that he was on his way to drive the French out of Syria and called on the Syrians to join him.  Nobody replied. The inhabitants of Transjordan didn't heed his call, either, if there were any, that is.

Abdullah squatted in Transjordan waiting.  The British didn't know what to do.  Transjordan was empty territory of 90,000 square kilometers (35,000 square miles) that were estimated to be able to hold at the most, 300,000 people.  Most people around there were nomads.  The British were afraid that the French would now be angry and would invade the land.  So they told Abdullah to forget about Syria and instead be a representative of Britain in administering eastern Palestine (Jewish promised land-ancient Judea) on behalf of the mandatory authority.  Abdullah took up office in Transjordan and finally accepted it as a substitute.  Abdullah negotiated with Chaim Weizmann in 1922.

It finally hit the right British bureaucrat  that this was part of the area pledged to the Jews.  So the Brits sneaked in an insertion of an alteration in the draft writing of the mandate (not yet ratified by the League of Nations) which gave Britain the right to "postpone or withhold" the provisions of the mandate relating to the Jewish National Home "in the territories lying between the Jordan and the eastern boundary of Palestine as ultimately determined."  After all the meetings, and thinking everything was sealed and ready, the Brits pulled this change of heart on the Jews without any warning.  Think of it as buying a farm.  The realtor has filled in all the papers, you think you have bought the whole farm, paid the money,  and are just waiting for the deed, and then the realtor at the last minute sells all of the farm to another buyer except one outbuilding which you get instead.   This was not the promise made to the Jewish Zionists.  This was not the deal at all.

The Zionist leaders were stunned.  They just lost from 75% to 80% of their Jewish Homeland to Abdullah!  This was why Britain was granted the mandate for Palestine--to create the Jewish Homeland as voted by all the nations in the League of Nations.  The Brits were pretty sneaky about it, though.  Their government countered with the proposal that, if the Zionists now didn't accept the situation, they would decline the mandate altogether and withdraw her protection from the Jewish restoration.
Chaim Weizmann, Chemist 
What were the Zionists thinking about and considering at this late hour in the deal?
1. Building a country out of a desert
2. Restoring a people, largely impoverish, from the 4 corners of the world
3. Being unequipped with political experience to judge the emptiness of the British threat.
4. Didn't feel strong enough to resist this blow to the integrity and security of the state or faith in the sanctity of compacts at this moment.
5. How they had been tricked by the 2-faced Brits.
6. So in need of their own land-suffering from pogroms in Russia, French anti-Semitism (The Alfred Dreyfus Affair in 1894) and England's expulsion of Jews for over 350 years from 1290 to 1655 and anti-Semitism, that they accepted the crumbs offered to them.  They already had Jews living in Western Palestine.  They would have to make room for more.

The claim to eastern Palestine (ancient Judea) was unanimously reiterated by the Zionist Congress in 1923 and remained part of the program of the Revisionist Party under Vladimir "Zeev" Jabotinsky and of the Socialist Achdut Avodah Party.

Abdullah invaded Israel in 1948 along with all the other Arab nations.  He formally annexed the Arab-held part of Cis-Jordan in 1950 and proclaimed himself ruler of the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan.  He tried to reach an understanding with Israel but this was nullified by the growing influence of the Palestinian Arabs.
Grand Mufti Husseini and Hitler
He was assassinated in Jerusalem  in 1951 allegedly at the instance of the former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el-Husseini (1893-1974).  A mufti is a professional jurist who interprets Muslim law.  The Grand Mufti had been apppointed in 1921 in  this position by Sir Herbert Samuel, a Jewish English politician.  Samuel had also made him head of the Supreme Moslem Council.  In 1936 he was appointed as chairman of the Arab Supreme Council.  He is the one that organized the Palestine disturbances for which he was sentenced to exile in 1937.  He escaped to Lebanon and during WWII was in the pro-Axis coup in Iraq before going to Europe where he assisted Hitler and was largely responsible for the liquidation of the Jews in the Moslem areas of Bosnia.  In 1946 he escaped to Egypt.  In 1948, Haj Amin al Husseini, Mufti of Jerusalem said, "I declare a holy war, my Muslim brothers!  Murder the Jews!  Murder them all! "  After 1948, he set up a short-lived "Palestine Government " in Gaza and later did it in Cairo.

This is how Abdullah I became king of Transjordan.  The British manufactured the means and filched the land from the Jewish National Home by tearing almost all of it out of Palestine which has always been an integral part of our Jewish history.  From the empty wasteland that became a spearhead of the "Arab" onslaught on the Jewish state--this Emirate of Transjordan later expanded across the river Jordan and renamed the land as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

What are the Hashemites and why are they important?  
  1. Hashemite (also spelled Hashimite), is the English-language version of the Arabic: هاشمي‎, transliteration: Hāšimī, and traditionally refers to those belonging to the Banu Hashim, or "clan of Hashim", an Arabian clan within the larger Quraysh tribe.  This is why Abdullah's father, Hussein bin Ali was Sharif and Emir of Mecca.  

  2.  The Quraysh tribe were a powerful merchant tribe that controlled Mecca and its Ka'aba and that according to tradition descended from Ishmael.

  3. The Islamic prophetMuhammad was born into the Banu Hashim clan of the Quraysh tribe. Supposedly they also carry the Arab line of the Cohen gene of Aaron, brother of Moses, which is J1 haplotype.  2nd hand information came to me that King Abdullah II has this haplotype. Hashemites claim descent from Muhammad's uncle, Abba bin Abd al-Muttalib, and Hashim ibn 'Abd Manaf who died in 511 and was Muhammad's great grandfather.  Although the definition today mainly refers to the descendants of Muhammad's daughter, Fatimah.  The Ydna haplotype of J1 can only be inherited by a man from his father, so the descendants of Fatimah did not get this J1 from her but if they carry it, it would have come from Muhammad's father, or uncles or male paternal cousins.  
  4.   In his memoirs, Transjordan's King Abdullah wrote: "It is made quite clear to all, both by the map drawn up by the Simpson Commission and by another compiled by the Peel Commission, that the Arabs are as prodigal (extravagant, squandering, profuse) in selling their land as they are in useless wailing and weeping.  It seems he didn't do much to keep them happy, did he?  They were full of complaints and were leaving.  
  5.  Resource:
Battleground-fact and fantasy in Palestine by Samuel Katz, p. 54-57.
The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia

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