Jordan is Palestine – A Legal Analysis

by Ted Belman

Originally published on

San Remo Conference 1920

Yes, Jordan is Palestine.

The Arab propaganda machine aided and abetted by the UN, EU, US and the main stream media, which is just about everybody, would have you believe otherwise.

They demand that the Palestinians living in Judea and Samaria and Gaza be granted statehood on all lands not controlled by Israel when the cease fire lines were agreed upon in 1949. This is referred to as the Two-State Solution. This solution is at the heart of the Arab Peace Initiative which was agreed to in 2002 at the Beirut Summit which provided

“(a) Complete withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories, including the Syrian Golan Heights, to the 4 June 1967 line and the territories still occupied in southern Lebanon; (b) Attain a just solution to the problem of Palestinian refugees to be agreed upon in accordance with the UN General Assembly Resolution No 194. (c) Accept the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state on the Palestinian territories occupied since 4 June 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

Like most peace plans since, it was based on a deliberate misreading of 1967.UN Security Council Resolution 242.  This resolution did not require Israel to withdraw from all lands “occupied in the ’67 War and it allowed Israel to remain in possession of said lands until she had “secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force”.

This resolution also included this preamble,  “Emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in which every State in the area can live in security..“..

None of those principles were mentioned in 1949 when Jordan acquired Judea and Samaria by war and Egypt acquired Gaza by war. No one asked them to give it back and the boundary established was not intended to be permanent. It was merely the agreed upon ceasefire lines. The ’67 War was a continuation of Israel’s War of Independence. But this too was ignored by the Security Council.

Obviously, not requiring Israel to withdraw from all territories and requiring secure and recognized boundaries flies in the face of this preamble.

Not only that, while the UN Charter provides for the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of land by war”, international law allowed for the retention of land acquired in a defensive war, which the ’67 War undoubtedly was.

Nowhere is this resolution is a Palestinian state mentioned.

But that is not the whole story.

The lands in question were not somebody else’s land but Israel’s own land. This fact was totally ignored by the Security Council in passing it.

Professor Eugene Kontorovich is the head of the international law department of the Kohelet Policy Forum.. He answers the question, “how can the legal position of Judea and Samaria [West Bank] be defined?”, in Israeli rule in the West Bank is legal under International Law .

“The question that should be asked is: What were the borders of Israel when it was first established? What defines this is the borders at the moment of independence. Israel was created, like most countries, after a successful war where no one came to its aid. In international law, there is a clear rule regarding the establishment of new countries: the country’s borders are determined in accordance with the borders of the previous political entity in that area. So, what was here before? The British Mandate. And what were the borders of the British Mandate? From the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.”

Thus, he argued, Israel liberated its own territory in 1967.

But even that doesn’t complete the story.

The San Remo Resolution passed in 1920 provided;

The High Contracting Parties agree to entrust, by application of the provisions of Article 22 (of the league of Nations Charter), the administration of Palestine ….The Mandatory will be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 8, 1917, by the British Government, and adopted by the other Allied Powers, in favour of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

The San Remo Resolution is the subject of research of international law scholar and lawyer, Jacques Gauthier, Ph.D.  Gauthier, who is Christian, spent a quarter-century researching and writing a 1,300-page thesis to investigate legal ownership rights of the ancient-modern capital city.

Through San Remo, a legal document,  Gauthier explained“The Jewish people have been given the right to establish a home, based on the recognition of their historical connection and the grounds for reconstituting this national home,”

The Palestine Mandate included both sides of the Jordan River and was passed in 1922 by the League of Nations. It should be noted that the Mandate as passed violated the rights given to the Jews at San Remo in that  it restricted their homeland to the lands west off the river. But all of the land was managed under the same Mandate..

The Mandate included this recital.  Whereas recognition has thereby [i.e. by the Treaty of Sèvres] been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine, and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country

Upon the signing of the Mandate, the Jews were entitled to a state on all the lands of the Palestine Mandate lying west of the Jordan River..

ARTICLE 5 of the Mandate read,.

“The Mandatory shall be responsible for seeing that no Palestine territory shall be ceded or leased to, or in any way placed under the control of the Government of any foreign Power.”

Nevertheless Britain tried to partition the lands between Arabs and Jews as set out in the Peel Commission Report in 1937 in violation of the rights of the Jews under the Mandate.

The United Nations came into being in 1945 in place and stead of the League of Nations. Article 80 provided :

“…  nothing in this Chapter shall be construed in or of itself to alter in any manner the rights whatsoever of any states or any peoples or the terms of existing international instruments to which Members of the United Nations may respectively be parties”.

Thus the rights of the Jews were preserved. The Jordan Option seeks to uphold those rights.

Nevertheless Britain got the General Assembly to pass the Partition Plan in 1947, again, violating those rights.

Jordan declared independence in 1946 and Israel did in 1948.

The War for Independence (1948-1949) ended with a ceasefire agreement and the ceasefires lines became the de facto borders of Israel. Jordan thus acquired Judea and Samaria and the eastern part of Jerusalem including the Old City..

Jordan annexed these lands in 1950 calling them the West Bank of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan..

In the article How Arab Rulers Undermined a Palestinian Staterecently published by Middle East Quarterly, the authors wrote:

“Jordan has ruled over more Palestinians than any other Arab state, especially during its occupation of the West Bank between 1948 and 1967. In these years, the kingdom became home to some 368,000 Palestinians who fled the 1948 Arab-Israeli war,[2] and the government systematically erased all traces of a distinct Palestinian identity in an attempt to create a wider Jordanian national identity.

“A decade later, Abdullah’s grandson and successor King Hussein declared his firm opposition to the idea of a separate “Palestinian entity,” convening a conference in January 1960 of Hashemite loyalists to denounce the “despicable innovation” of the establishment of a Palestinian entity.

Thus it may be said that during this period, 1948 to 1967, Jordan was Palestine, no ifs, ands or buts.

Jordan is still Palestine only with the Jordan River as the western boundary and most people living in Jordan are Palestinians.

In order to make this a reality the King Abdullah II must abdicate and the Palestinians must take control of their country.

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