US Secretary of State John Kerry’s unshakeable belief that he could succeed in facilitating what had eluded former American Secretaries of State for the last 20 years – the creation of a 22nd Arab State in the West Bank and Gaza for the first time ever in recorded history - has been shattered following Israel cancelling the release of 26 prisoners convicted of terrorist attacks prior to the 1993 Oslo Accords.
Israel’s action followed the PLO lodging applications to join 15 UN international agencies in breach of its commitments not to do so whilst negotiations between Israel and the PLO were being conducted.
Kerry now needs to immediately focus his attention on Jordan - the last Arab State to have occupied the West Bank between 1948 -1967 and which – together with Israel – comprises one of the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine 1920-1948.
Redrawing Jordan’s international boundary with Israel to restore the status quo existing before the outbreak of the 1967 Six Day War - as far as is now possible given the changed circumstances on the ground – provides a realistically achievable alternative to the doomed Israel-PLO negotiations.
Lorenzo Kamel - a historian at Bologna University and a visiting fellow at Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies - has published an error-riddled articleattempting to distance Jordan from becoming involved in any such negotiations – which Kerry should unequivocally reject.
Kamel’s following misleading claims have been corrected by my bold responses:
1. “Whenever there is a concrete effort to push forward the peace process, talk about “a substitute homeland” for the Palestinians re-emerges. Most of those supporting this scheme claim that well before the partition suggested by the UN General Assembly in 1947, the Zionist movement suffered a mutilation of territory following the unilateral British decision in 1922 to separate Transjordan from the rest of the land subject to the Mandate for Palestine…
...” Transjordan was thus part of the Mandate for Palestine with the proviso that Britain might administer it separately and for a period which at best may be considered scarcely relevant.”
Transjordan remained subject to the Mandate for Palestine from 1920 until 1946.
It was only the provisions of the Mandate relating to the reconstitution of the Jewish National Home in Palestine that were “postponed or withheld” in Transjordan under article 25 of the Mandate– as this Notepresented by the Secretary General to the League of Nations clearly stated:
In the application of the Mandate to Transjordan, the action which, in Palestine, is taken by the Administration of the latter country will be taken by the Administration of Transjordan under the general supervision of the Mandatory.
His Majesty's Government accept full responsibility as Mandatory for Transjordan, and undertake that such provision as may be made for the administration of that territory in accordance with Article 25 of the Mandate shall be in no way inconsistent with those provisions of the Mandate which are not by this resolution declared inapplicable.
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