Tuesday, April 02, 2019

TransJordan, 1933

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Item B:

Full text:

A strong fight for the right of Jews to settle in Transjordania was put up at the last session of the League of Nation’s Mandates Commission, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency learned today, although minutes of the session will not officially appear before September. The fight was conducted mainly by the Dutch representative, D. Van Rees, vice-chairman of the Mandates Commission, who demanded an explanation of the British Government’s opposition to Jewish settlement of Transjordania.

Van Rees emphasized that the mandate does not exclude Jewish immigration in the Transjordan area, and he indicated that the population of Transjordania is in favor of Jewish settlement there. Van Rees pointed out that Transjordania is double the size of Palestine, but has only 300,000 inhabitants at present, while Palestine has 1,000,000.

LAND SALE PROHIBITION

“Besides, why prohibit sale of land there to Jews when the Emir Abdullah of Transjordania desires it?” he asked.

He also pointed out that many Jews living in Palestine at present are not Palestinians, but are still subjects or citizens of countries belonging to the League of Nations. Considering the principle of equality for the citizens or subjects of all countries which are members of the League, it would be impossible to prevent these persons from settling in Transjordania, Van Rees stated.

The British representative, Mark Aicheson Young, former secretary of the Palestine Administration, replied to Van Rees by stating that the British Government is not prepared at present to permit Jews to settle in the Transjordan territory. There is a general feeling in that country that settlement at present is impracticable for reasons of security, he contended.

LARGE DESERT AREAS

The British representative stated that though it is true that Transjordania is much bigger than Palestine it does not contain as much cultivable land, consisting largely of desert areas. The cultivable parts of Transjordania are as densely populated as the larger part of Palestine, Mr. Young declared.

Lord Lugard, British member of the Mandates Commission, asked Mr. Young to define his Government’s attitude toward Arabs from Palestine settling in Transjordania with the assistance of Jews in Palestine. Mr. Young replied that the British Government would not object to this so long as the number of Arabs immigrating falls within the absorbtive capacity of Transjordania. He claimed that the Transjordan area does not contain large unoccupied tracts of land suitable to support a big wave of immigration.

Background:

On 4 June 1917 the French foreign ministry issued the Cambon Letter, a statement that it approved a text presented to it by Zionists that "circumstances permitting, and the independence of the Holy Places being safeguarded... it would be a deed of justice and of reparation to assist, by the protection of the Allied Powers, in the renaissance of the Jewish nationality in the land from which the people of Israel were exiled so many centuries ago." It went on: "The French government cannot but feel sympathy for your cause, the triumph of which is bound up that of the Allies."

Britain was given a mandate for Palestine, with the aim of fulfilling the Balfour Declaration. But Winston Churchill was also negotiating with Arab leaders about their demands for land, and so he had the details redrafted: Britain was no longer obliged to foster a Jewish state east of the Jordan River. At the same time, Britain also surrendered land in the north of Palestine, handing it to France, which had been given a mandate for Lebanon.

The upshot was that in 1921 the land east of the Jordan River – forming 75 percent of Palestine – was hived off as Transjordan. It was meant to be temporary, to provide a haven for Abdullah, one of the Arabian princes at war with each other.

Weizmann protested, writing to Churchill to note that "the fields of Gilead, Moab and Edom, with the rivers Arnon and Jabbok are historically and geographically and economically linked to Palestine, and it is upon these fields, now that the rich plains of the north have been taken from Palestine and given to France, that the success of the Jewish National Home must largely rest..."

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1 comment:

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