Sunday, August 05, 2018

Chaim Weizmann and TransJordan

Ze'ev Jabotinsky demanded Palestine. All of Palestine. Including TransJordan.

That's what the 1923 Zionist Congress decided:

Trans- and Cis-Jordan are "one historical, geographic and economic unit" and "in accordance with the legitimate demands of the Jewish people", the Congress expects that an expression of such will be achieved in Transjordan and eventually it will be carried out.

He declared 
that the opening of Transjordania to Jewish settlement is an essential condition no longer opposed by the Transjordanian Arabs but by the mandatory administration.

“A Transjordania which would have the same population density as Palestine has room for one and a half million immigrants, while a Palestine on both sides of the Jordan would harbor five or six millions,” Jabotinsky asserted. “A political regime which would promote settlement instead of hindering it would in a few decades solve the tragic problem of the Jews without harming their non-Jewish neighbors.”

Jabotinsky's 1935 list of the obligations a friendly mandatory power to the Jews and of the Jews to themselves should included
1. A land reserve for agricultural colonization following a geological survey of uncultivated land in Palestine and a loan for reclaiming land.
2. A similar survey in Transjordania.
If not granted land, then Jews should be able to purchase them.

Unlike Chaim Weizmann, his rival, you may have thought.


He held, for a while at least, similar views.

Here - 

"Transjordania must be opened to Jewish endeavours"

Earlier, there was a scandal when the Mizrachi representative Yehoshua Farbstein revealed negotiations for purchase of lands on the east side of the Jordan River in which he was quite involved.

And here:

(For Weizmann background, see here.)

How much was Weizmann pro-Transjordan?

Well, he said in May 1926

I openly and explicitly stated here as well as in London that we see in Transjordania the eastern part of Eretz Israel. However, we will build the bridge across the Jordan not with soldiers, we will make our way there by Jewish work, with the plough and not with the sword, only through the good will of the two nations, the Jews and the Arabs, will we cross the Jordan.

He pressed the first High Commissioner Herbert Samuel on the matter and latter replied in a December 20, 1936 item:

Sir Herbert Samuel, first British High Commissioner for Palestine, explained last night why Transjordan was not included with the Holy Land under the Balfour Declaration. He told the Anglo-Palestine Club that a pledge had been given to king Hussein that Transjordan was, like Iraq and Hedjaz, to be included in the Arab domains.

The explanation was indirectly a reply to Dr. Chaim Weizmann, president of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, who recently raised the question in Jerusalem before the Royal Commission now conducting hearings there. Sir Herbert said the Arabs claimed that Palestine was also included in the Arab domains, but the British would not admit this.

And, as this book relates, he valiantly attempted to complete purchases but the British viewed that effort with displeasure and he never asserted the Jewish claim after that, as Herbert Samuel had declared in October 1934:

“The rumors that Transjordania will be annexed to Palestine are unfounded. Transjordania is a part of the British mandatory area and negotiations are now under way between the Government of Great Britain and Emir Abdullah, ruler of Transjordania, as to the conditions and form of administration of the country”
Weizmann eventually wilted.

The story:

History aside, Jordan is Transjordan is part of historic Palestine.


Abba Hillel Silver, in January 1935, published a piece entitled "Land Hunger" which include this:

This calls for the opening up of Transjordania at the earliest possible moment for Jewish settlement. On this pivotal issue of Transjordania all the energies of the Zionist movement should now be concentrated. 


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