Amman and Jerusalem
November 22, 1968
There is great agitation and indignation within the United Nations today. It all centers around demands for return by Israel of the land won from Jordan last year. What land? The area that is commonly known as the West Bank of the Jordan. There is really more than a little irony in this demand. Indeed, it approaches the heights of chutzpah.
It is not only that a state which attempted to destroy another one and lost has the gall to demand terms more properly suited to a victor. It is not even the fact that the land Jordan demands was never legally and rightfully annexed by it in the first place. It is really the fact that the state that calls itself Jordan is an entity that is illegal, per se.
As the great holy war swung into its full gear, the little king of the little Kingdom called Jordan began to rain his shells into Jewish Jerusalem. His troops crossed the armistice line and seized territory in the no-man’s land in the city. His words and acts were thrown into the battle to wipe out Israel and decimate its inhabitants.
Alas, Allah was unkind to Russia and the king’s legion, and uniforms flung aside, aircraft burning, shoes cast away – the Jordanians fled east. From the plunderer came forth plunder and the Israelis swept to the Jordan to put an end to the insanity of a border that, in one place, was only fifteen miles from the Arab devil to the blue Mediterranean Sea.
The land that was taken, however, was not “Jordanian.” It was part of pre-1948 Palestine; it was part or Eretz Yisroel, it was Jewish soil from the time of Abraham.
Here was the Old City of Jerusalem where Abraham brought his son Isaac for the Akeda; here was the city where David and his dynasty ruled; here was the sacred Temple Mount with its Western Wall waiting to be redeemed.
Here was Bethlehem were Rachel wept for her children on the way to Efrat. Here was Hebron where the Patriarchs impatiently lay in anticipation of a speedy redemption. Here was Jericho where the walls crashed down to herald the inheritance of the Holy Land by the Egyptian exodees. Here was Judea and Samaria and all the places and sites that have become familiar to a Jewish and non-Jewish Biblical world.
Here was Jewish Eretz Yisroel, a land that had been reluctantly left outside the borders of a Jewish state in 1948 as the Jews of Palestine sorrowfully agreed to temporarily accept partition of their land in their desperate need of some land to house the displaced of Europe and the oppressed of greater Arabia.
But the agreement was conditional and the Arabs, predictably, relieved the Jewish state of any need to adhere to that condition. The Arabs in psychopathic consistency refused any idea of compromise and rejected partition. Their armies rushed in to battle the yahud, and the U.N. sat in an impotence that was destined to become its favorite pose.
It was Jewish blood that won and secured a Jewish state, and the plan that was rejected by the Arabs was buried, unmourned and unlamented. And the West Bank of the Jordan? Under the U.N. plan it was to be given to an Arab Palestine state; under the Arab plan it to be given to an Arab Palestine state; under no circumstances did anyone foresee a usurper Jordan annexing it.
And yet, that is exactly what happened. Possessed of a British-trained and run Arab Legion, King Abdullah proved to be the only foe that Israel could not overcome. His army seized the West Bank and Old Jerusalem and decided that Israel would not have it and neither would an Arab Palestine be created. From now on, it was to be part of Jordan.
No one accepted this. The U.N. denied the legality of the move; the Israelis refused to recognize it and the Arab states themselves fumed at the annexation.
On December 13, 1948, Egypt’s King Farouk served notice that he did not recognize Jordan’s right to the West Bank. The Arab League threatened expulsion of Jordan from the body (Abdullah yawned and welcomed the move). Faced with a fait accompli, the Arab League never did recognize the grab but adopted a resolution on May 13, 1949 “to treat the Arab part of Palestine annexed by Jordan as a trust in its hands until the Palestine case is fully solved in the interests of its inhabitants.”
So much for the Jordanian claim to the West Bank. The land it claims is Jewish land, sorrowfully given up in return for a peace and friendship the Arabs never gave. Their rejection of the latter doomed the former, and the land returned to its true owners.