Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Britain's Role in Creating and Bolstering Up Jordan While Being Against Israel

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                     
British Empire 1921 

                                        At the time of the 1947 partition resolution, the Arabs had a majority in western Palestine as a whole...1.2 million Arabs versus 600,000 Jews.  But, the Jews were a majority in the area allotted to them by the resolution and in Jerusalem.                                                                        
                                                             Abdullah's Reward
Britain held the mandate over Palestine at the end of WWI of 1917.  The land was to become the Jewish Homeland as decided by the League of Nations, but Britain decided on their own to give 80% to Abdullah in 1922,  because he wanted his reward for helping Britain take the Ottoman Empire in battle with his horsemen, according to the movie "Lawrence of Arabia" with Omar Sharif  and Peter O'Toole, a British epic that came out in 1962.   "The film depicts Lawrence's experiences in the Arabian Peninsula during World War I, in particular his attacks on Aqaba and Damascus and his involvement in the Arab National Council."  

 Jews deserved a reward also for what Chaim Weizmann had done for them by improving their ammunition, but only got the remaining 20% along the sea and half of  that was offered to the Palestinian Arabs for a state of their own, but they refused it as they expected to get all the remaining 20%.  If they accepted, then they'd be stuck with half and it would be harder to gain the other half, they figured.  Chaim and other Jews had been meeting with Britain for years when WWI had started because they saw this as their chance of gaining back their ancient homeland after waiting for 2,000 years.  The time was right.  No one had ever held the land or had done anything with it.  It was as if it was waiting for their return.
 It was in dire need of their love and attention, having gone to weeds and their seed, swamps and mosquitoes and desert.  In fact, Israel's largest piece they got out of the British deal was the Negev desert!
Allenby with Emir Feisal

It was Viscount Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby (1861-1936) who was the British military leader in WWI who commanded the Egyptian Expeditionary force from June 1917.  In October 1917 he launched an attack on the Turks in the Gaza-Beersheba sector and entered Jerusalem on December 9th.  He won a victory over the Turks in September 1918 near Megiddo on September 19th, and swept north to Damascus and Aleppo.  After the allied conquest of Palestine, Allenby headed the Military Administration until  1919.  He was most cool towards the Jews, but later traveled to Jerusalem in 1925 to attend the opening of the Hebrew University.
The land was delicious!  Jordan's geographic position is on the east bank of the Jordan River, and Britain's helpfulness was not altruistic.  The oil pipelines from Kirkuk and the later Trans-Arabian Pipe Line from Saudi Arabia made Jordan strategic for oil exporting.  Jordan was sitting pretty for Britain's defense of the Suez Canal and the Red Sea zone.  It went along with the land they held in the mandate, so they had full control for 30 years.  Though the Hashemite monarchy was heavily subsidized, it was of great interest to the British foreign office.  This desert kingdom was a British client.  They leaned on Great Britain.  After all, Great Britain was great because it included Scotland, Wales and Ireland from their own surrounding islands as well as Australia, India, Canada, New Zealand, and other interesting places, even Cyprus.
 As it turned out, both the Jews and Emir Feisal were tricked into trusting the British, but Feisal finally came out all right by becoming King of Iraq.  How different things might have been had he had a dynasty that inherited that throne instead of Assad getting in there as President.
King Abdullah (1882-1951) King of Transjordan in 1946, 2nd son of Hussein, sherif of Mecca and later the king of Hejaz.  He negotiated with Chaim Weizmann in 1922 but invaded Israel in 1948 anyway.  The Grand Mufti, Haj Amin el-Husseini, Israel's enemy,  had him assassinated in Jerusalem.  
Thus Jordan was established in 1923 under the then King Abdullah, another British-assisted state founded by a monarchy-landed family.  Abdullah was from Saudi Arabia and had lost out on their power, so needed a kingdom somewhere else.  Abdullah said he was a direct descendant of Muhammad.  This guaranteed him attention from the Brits over other people.  Jordan annexed Judea and Samaria which they called the West Bank in 1950.  So Arabs controlled 80% of Palestine while the Jewish state held a bare 17.5%.  Gaza,  occupied by Egypt, was the remainder.
Britain had the habit of sponsoring states after WWI.  They kept themselves busy training the military units of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Iraq, the Persian Gulf states as well as Jordan.

Jordan was treated a little differently because the British after WWII were still there.  The British officers continued to direct Jordanian military and paramilitary units.

The Peel Commission in 1937 figured that the only solution was to have  separate Jewish
and Arab states.  The Jews resented being confined to a ghetto of 5,000 out of the 26,700 square kilometers remaining in Palestine.  But they decided to negotiate with the British, while the Arabs refused to consider any compromises.

The WHITE PAPER in 1939 called for an Arab state to be created anyway within 10 years.  Brits didn't listen to the Arab's NO WAY.  They went ahead and limited Jewish immigration to no more than 75,000 over the next 5 years.  Arabs repudiated the White Paper.  They rejected being given a state and the opportunity for self-determination.
King Hussein was able to survive battles with Israel and PLO military clashes with his army.  His Royal Hashimite Kingdom of Jordan are survivors of the Palestinian attack called Black September.  Britain trained the Jordanian army better than their other responsibilities.  They helped to establish the Jordanian border patrol and this led to the creation of the Royal Jordanian Guard and the Arab Legion under Glubb Pasha was a commitment Britain made only to Jordan after WWI.
5 minutes after Israel announced their tiny state had come into existence, they were attacked by all their neighbors.  There was a truce with Israel winning and surviving.  The United Nations did not forget that they had offered a deal of partitioning the 20% of land between the Israelis and Palestinians.  They had just been turned down flat which today's Palestinians hate to admit and don't.  I'm looking at the Palestinian-written textbook used in colleges in Portland, Oregon and they write that the UN ignored this fact.  Jerusalem was to become an international city but that turned out badly, too.
 Israel was fighting for its life when Abdullah annexed East Jerusalem and the highlands they refer to as the West Bank which are Judea and Samaria, land that was promised to belong to Israel as it was their ancient land.  Abdullah had stolen the fertile land west of the Jordan and took in all the Arabs living there.  This drew the border between Jordan and Israel next to each other in the country and the streets and alleys of Jerusalem.  Barbed wire fences were used to divide Jerusalem.  Britain's civilian administration of Palestine evacuated from the land by May 14, 1948 when Israel announced its creation.  The Brits finished leaving on August 1st.  They had opened the land frontiers so that men and arms could pour in from the neighboring Arab countries.  They had refused to open a port for the Jews as recommended by the United Nations.  They maintained their blockade in the Mediterranean to prevent any reinforcements from reaching Israel.  The United States put an embargo on Israel and enforced it strictly so that the Jews were deprived of that source as well.  The Brits had put in place these many advantages for the Arabs. Besides these things, the Brits gave the Arabs massive material support when the British government openly provided arms and ammunition for the war.  They disregarded criticism at the UN that Britain was aiding aggressive invasion by their crazy claim that the State of Israel did not legally exist and could not be invaded.  This, coming from Britain who was given the mandate-the order to help the Jews create their Jewish Homeland!  The Arabs were even given expert British leadership since the Transjordanian Arab Legion was officered by British soldiers.
Ernest Bevin ( 1881-1951) considered anti-Semitic by Jews.   One remark which caused particular anger was made when President Truman was pressing Britain to immediately admit 100,000 Jewish displaced persons to Palestine after the war. Bevin told a Labour Party meeting that American pressure to admit Jews was being applied because "There has been agitation in the United States, and particularly in New York, for 100,000 Jews to be put in Palestine. I hope I will not be misunderstood in America if I say that this was proposed by the purest of motives. They did not want too many Jews in New York
On January 15, 1948, before Israel's announcement of becoming a state,  a new treaty with Iraq was signed at Portsmouth.  The British Foreign Minister, Ernest Bevin, had reached an agreement with the Iraqi leaders where the British sped up the supply of weapons and ammunition ordered from the British government.  They also agreed to supply automatic weapons for 50,000 policemen.  The purpose was to arm the Palestinian Arab fighters to help them to fight for the liberation of Palestine.  The Iraqi forces would enter every area evacuated by British troops in the whole of Palestine so that a Jewish state would not be formed.  You can see which side Britain was on all along!  The British even bragged in the House of Commons at the end of February that 5,000 Arabs from the neighboring countries had entered Palestine in the preceding 3 months.  The Iraqis later discovered that the number was only 4,000.   All this against the 650,000 Jews, some of which had managed to get to Israel after being in the Holocaust and were starved, emaciated and beaten people needing to convalesce.. Instead of reaching a convalescence center, they had to be soldiers against an enemy.

Six weeks later, Bevin was at an interview where he approved of Transjordan's plan to frustrate the partition plan by invading and occupying the area planned to be the Arab state by the UN partition plan.  The Arab leaders promised to slaughter the Jews who were untrained, poorly armed in trying to defend the small but densely populated coastal strip of land.  Arabs had previously conquered half of the world 1,300 years before.  .  They were unstoppable, they believed.
Abdullah was a king over Bedouin Arabs.  Now, 2/3 of his population were Palestinian Arab who had more education than the Bedouins on the East bank of the Jordan river.  The Palestinians were told what to do by their leaders, and their leaders told them they were angry at the creation of Israel.  Their leaders had told them to leave their homes while they were fighting and then they could come back and take over the Jewish homes but they didn't win as planned.  Since this plan fell apart, their leaders now told them to stay in refugee camps.  They followed orders like good soldiers, and many are still there after 67 years.  Though these refugee camps are in Muslims states nearby, the states won't let them do anything other than receive aid packages from the UN.  They have not worked anyplace other than the UN.  The Palestinian Arabs flooded Jordan and wanted to take it as their state, so they had accused Abdullah of undermining their efforts in the war against Israel, as they were fighting against the new state as well in 1948.  In July 1951 one of the Arabs assassinated King Abdullah as he was attending the Mosque of Aqsa in Jerusalem.
Abdullah's son, Talal, succeeded him, but being quite ill, had to abdicate in 1953 in favor of this 18 year old next in line son, Hussein.   Being so young, he had a hard time managing Bedouins and Palestinians.
Nasser rose in Egypt to power.  The Palestinians were sure he would attack Israel and win.  Hussein was in the middle between the deep blue Mediterranean and and the Devil.  He could not join the United Arab Republic or make peace with Israel.  If he did either he would lose his throne.  He was afraid the UAR would attack Jordan and then Israel might occupy Judea and Samaria as a preventive measure.

Hussein of Jordan was receiving military and economic aid from the United States.  This angered the Palestinians.  It was necessary for him to keep his power, though.  Then Iraq had a revolution in 1958 and this put Hussein in danger, so he asked Britain for help.  His answer was that 2,000 British troops were brought in to protect Jordan against their Arab  neighbors.

Yasser Arafat
The Arab leaders met in Cairo in 1964 and approved of the Palestinian political group called the PLO:  Palestine Liberation Organization.  It was made up of Fatah led by Yasser Arafat, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine or the PFLP; and the Democratic Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine or DPFLP.  The PLO received funds to create their army or PLA.  Most of the Palestinians were living within the boundaries of Jordan, so most of the recruitment and training took place there.  The state of Jordan then had 2 armies.  One was under the command of King Hussein and the other under Arafat.  Jordan then became a staging area for many attacks on Israeli land which caused Israel to retaliate in defense.
1967 was the year of the devastating Six Day War in June, short but to the point when the Arabs massed again to destroy Israel but lost.  Egypt and Syria lost the Sinai and the Golan Heights.  Jordan lost Judea and Samaria and the control of East Jerusalem.  This meant they lost the potash industry of Jericho, the commercial, industrial and financial revenues of Nablus, the enormous tourism revenues of Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and the agricultural products of the highlands and the Jordan Valley.

Before 1967, Palestinian students made up 70% of Jordan's trained personnel and professional workforce.  They also made up a large majority in its colleges and universities.  .  After 1967, the Palestinians of Judea and Samaria began to expand their own secondary schools and 2 year colleges into universities, such as Birzeit University in 1972  where Thomas M. Ricks was from, the co-author of the textbook used in Oregon's colleges.  It is located 12.5 miles North of Jerusalem and 4.5 North of Ramallah.

It was only after the Arabs lost the war of 1967 that Palestinians started crying that they needed their own state which they would call Palestine out of the "West Bank," the ancient land of Israel and Judah-the 2 Jewish states.  This land was controlled by Jordan from 1948 to 1967, and Jordan never made it independent.  Instead, they made the land part of the Jordanian kingdom-the land on the wrong side of the tracks, you know, the poor and oppressed part.  All real power and money were kept east of the Jordan River.  Life was even becoming harder for those Arabs living in Gaza under Arab rule.  The Egyptian government intentionally and severely oppressed these people , using their anger that grew as a weapon against Israel.  The Arabs gained political rights, industrial activity and all improved standard of living when Israel began to administer these territories, not before 1967.

Arab government covet Jerusalem.  They demanded that it be restored to Arab rule before they would even discuss peace.  It's a Jewish capital, always has been and will remain so as the East has been united with the West part and it has one mayor.  Religiously, Jerusalem meant little to Muslims.  Mecca and Medina were their holy cities.  Jordan left East Jerusalem poor, unsanitary and undeveloped.  From 1948 to 1967 Jordan had actually driven the Jews out of East Jerusalem which is called the Old City.  They destroyed Jewish cemeteries, schools and synagogues.  They prevented Jews from visiting their holy sites.  Under Israeli law now, the rights of all religions have been protected.  Islamic holy sites are controlled by Israeli Muslims, just as Christian holy sites are controlled by Christians.

The surprise is that the most aggressive country against Israel made peace with her, which was Egypt.  They were affected by doing this as the Arab states suspended Egypt from the Arab League.

The Palestinian Arabs had hurt themselves and their descendants by fleeing from the newly created Israel in 1948 in their greed and habit of obeying their leaders, such was brainwashing a common thing for them.  Earlier in the century, European powers had been dishonest with Arab leaders.  Nobody kept their word in those days.  The result was that a large number of people were trapped in the Middle East politics.  A whole generation (25 years to a generation) had grown up with no future, no possibilities, and no hope by remaining in refugee camps.

Palestinians had also established Najah National University in 1977 and Bethlehem University in 1973.   Jordan lost all their resources of markets, products and manpower with the Israeli occupation  says Ricks in their Palestinian textbook. They didn't really lose what they never developed or used.  They lost it when they saw Israel doing these things.   On the other hand, by winning, the Israelis inherited a larger Palestinian population than they had after the 1948 war of Independence.  This increased their military and political problems.

Refugees were created, about 200,000 from Judea and Samaria.  Israel allowed 15,000 to return.  Israel allowed the Palestinians to continue as administrators and teachers under Israeli military authority.  Jordan continued to pay their salaries, which came from the Jordanian treasury.  The Palestinian population caused problems for Jordan.  About 1.5 million villagers, refugees in camps, and townspeople of Judea and Samaria and Gaza resisted Israeli rule in several ways.  There was a teacher's strike in Ramallah/al-Bireh district to open confrontations with Israeli authorities and army.  All of King Hussein's time was spent in arranging grants, loans, and military procurements from any place available.
The PLO became the Arab representative.  There was a battle of Karameh in March 1968.  It was the PLO and the Jordanian army against Israel.  Israel  had launched an air and ground attack on this village on the East bank of the Jordan river.  The attacks were in reprisal for a series of raids by the PLO against Israel, mostly by the Fatah faction, which culminated in an Israeli school bus hitting a mine.., something left out of the textbook.  Palestinians used suicide bombers here.The Israelis withdrew at the end of a day's battle, having destroyed most of the Karameh camp and taken hundreds of prisoners."   The UN upbraided Israel for this attack which the Palestinians treated as the cause celebre.  This became a psychological and military victory for the PLO.  Their prestige skyrocketed.  The PLO then heisted airplanes, murdered for political reasons including killing the Israeli athletes at the 1976 Munich Olympics.  All this caused the Palestinians to believe that only disaster or an armed confrontation would get the European and American attention on their problem of wanting their own state and not having Israel exist-but taking theirs.  It didn't work, and the UN didn't stop Israel from retaliating after their actions.

Then came BLACK SEPTEMBER.  1970

September 1970, King Hussein had to intervene to end the PLO"s free-wheeling control of Amman and their dominance in Jordan.  The king crushed the PLO leadership in Amman with assistance from Britain and the USA while Syria and Egypt said nothing.  Palestinians were killed and thousands retreated to Lebanon and Syria.  Jordan would not cooperate with the PLO anymore.  An attempt was made in 1983 after the Beirut and Tripoli evacuations, when Yasser Arafat began to think about a possible federation of a Palestinian-Jordanian state.
 King Hussein (right) and Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser at the1964 Arab League Summit in AlexandriaEgypt
King Hussein had his own peace plan to try out.  It was his 12 pointer of a Federated Arab Kingdom with the West bank of the Jordan having Jerusalem as its capital and the East bank having Amman.   Israel and the Arab states rejected it.  He should have stayed out of the 1967 war when Israel begged him to stay out of and he wouldn't have lost land.  Then he didn't enter the October Yom Kippur War of 1973  in which Syria and Egypt had attacked Israel once more.  So again Hussein  was in trouble with his Arab neighbors.

Resource:  Textbook:  Middle East Past & Present by Yahya Armaajani and Thomas M.Ricks
A Young Person's History of Israel, 2nd Edition by David Bamberger p. 131-132
Battleground, fact and fantasy in Palestine by Samuel Katz. p 169-171.
Myths and Facts, a concise record of the Arab-Israeli conflict by Mitchell G. Bard and Joel Himelfarb, p 32-34..


  1. the double dealing of the british was worse than i knew about. i knew they had dirty hands in the whole mandate and establishment of israel but you shed more light on this for me. and all will answer for their part. it is a wonder that there is an israel on the map today with all the odds against in their enemies but also in spite of all of the so-called "friends". i say that credit goes to GOD.

  2. I'd say so too, Andre. Every time things like this happen; all these stones thrown at Israel, it's a miracle they keep going and overcome them. Now today with this horrid Iran agreement about nuclear power, Israel is facing the worst of the worst. If I wrote a novel and made our USA out to be this gullible, the book would never sell because it would be too far out. Can't believe what goes on.

  3. i think you are too kind. gullible is not the word i'm thinking of...... i think many are willfully ignorant and the rest plain evil. either way israel is in the crosshairs and it will be God who miraculously saves the jewish people. i've read the Book ;) . that has happened a number of times before...............

    1. This time it's going to have to take a lot of saving in this evil world. Like Ron Dermer, Israeli Ambassador to USA said, this is one time when the Arabs and Israel are in agreement-Obama's deal is a very bad deal. They're all in danger now and so Obama is turning this into all people getting armed with nuclear devices.