King Hussein's Federal Plan
March 15, 1972
In two campaigns, King Hussein was able to crush the terrorist organizations which had threatened his regime. In the Summer of 1971, a number of Palestinian terrorists, fleeing from the Jordanian army gave themselves up to Israeli forces in the Jordan Valley. By early 1972, the king had made up his mind that the time has come to spell out his plans for the future of Jordan. On March 15, he broadcast the following statement on Amman Radio regarding the future of the East Bank, the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip:
I am pleased to meet you and to speak to you about the affairs of the current stage and their connection with the affairs and experiences of the past and the aspirations and hopes of the future. The establishment of the State of Jordan in 1921 was the most important stage of the Arab revolution following the exposure of the conspiracy against this revolution during the First World War. After the issue of the Balfour Declaration in 1917, the establishment of the State became even more significant because it spared the territory east of the Jordan river from that Declaration and consequently from the Zionist plans at that time.
When the Arab armies entered Palestine in 1948, the Jordanian army was the smallest in terms of men and equipment. Yet, this army was able to save from Palestine that area which extends from Janin in the north to Hebron in the south and from the Jordan river in the east to a point not more than 15 kilometres from the coast in the west. It was also able to save the entire Holy City of Jerusalem and other areas outside the city walls - those areas north, south and east of the walls which later became known as Arab Jerusalem. That area which later became known as the West Bank was all that was left for the Arabs from Palestine, in addition to that narrow strip which later became known as the Gaza Strip.
After a short period of temporary administration in the West Bank, a group of leaders, notables and elders representing Palestinian Arabs who had emigrated from the occupied territories considered joining the East Bank, a patriotic and nationalist demand and a guarantee against Israeli dangers. They held two great historic meetings. The first was in Jericho on 1 December 1948 and the second in Nablus on 28 December 1948. These meetings were attended by the representatives of all the people leaders, thinkers, youth, the aged, workers and farmers - and their organizations.
Those present adopted resolutions calling on the late King Abdullah Bin al-Husein to take immediate steps to unify and merge the two Banks in a single State under his leadership. The old king responded to the nations's call and ordered that constitutional and practical measures be taken to achieve that important patriotic and nationalist demand. The measures included holding elections to select the legitimate representatives of the West Bank people in the Chamber of Deputies.
On 24 April 1950, the new Jordanian National Assembly - with its two chambers, deputies and senators -representing the two Banks held an historic meeting which marked the first real step in modern Arab history towards Arab unity, which the revolution has advocated since its inception. The meeting announced the unity and merger of the two Banks in a single independent Arab State, a parliamentary monarchy known as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
The ship of unity sailed in seas which were not all calm and easy. There were many currents secretly manipulated by foreign hands and quarters. They tried to cause storms around the ship to push it gradually towards the rocks. But the vigilance of the people in the two Banks of the country, their faith in the unity of their soil and in their sons and their understanding of the real danger to them which lurks across the border were a great guarantee for the safety of the trip and saved the ship from the evils harboured against it.
The primary fact that the unity of the two Banks represented day after day has been that the people in both Banks are one and not two peoples. This fact was manifested for the first time in the reunion of the sons of the East Bank with their emigrant brothers, the sons of the Palestine areas occupied in 1948. It was manifested when the former shared with the latter food and shelter and the sweetness and bitterness of life. This fact became more salient and took deeper roots with every step the State took.
The unity of blood and destiny reached its greatest significance in 1967 when the sons of the two Banks stood together on the West Bank as they have been doing for twenty years and jointly sacrificed their blood on its pure soil. But the struggle was too great for them and its conditions and complexities were too much for their valour. The catastrophe occurred and what happened did happen.
In the sea of suffering that the June catastrophe left behind, the objectives of the Jordanian State in the post-war era have been summarized as (1) valiant steadfastness in the face of the unabating and unending aggressions against the East Bank and (2) confident resolve to liberate the land, the people and the brothers in the West Bank. All the efforts were directed towards these two objectives in an atmosphere of reassurance about the Arab States' support for Jordan in its ordeal and of unlimited confidence that the unity of all Arab destiny has become a concrete fact to the entire Arab nation, and unshaken by regional interests no matter how great, and cannot be harmed by plans and intentions no matter what these advocate or how they are disguised.
A New Catastrophe
But suddenly Jordan found itself face to face with a new catastrophe whose inevitable result, if it had been destined to come true, would have been the loss of the East Bank and the establishment of the situation needed to liquidate the Palestine issue once and for all on the ruins of the East Bank. The driving forces of the catastrophe had enlisted numerous elements to serve their aims. Numerous other elements and quarters fell into the trap of these forces. Some of the former and the latter of these elements had assumed Palestinian identity as bearers of the holy cause. They played their role under the guise and cover of that name. Many of the paradoxes and conflicting currents in the world found their way among these elements. Many international contradictions and various world disputes penetrated them.
Naturally Jordan had to stand up and deal with the imminent catastrophe. This it did by taking a stand in which that unique mixture of its sons, the emigrants and the supporters, participated equally. The dissension was crushed on the solid rock of national unity. The dissension ceased to exist thanks to the enlightenment of the new man who had been born on that distant day in 1950 and grew up on the challenges which the ordeals have been posing for the past 20 years.
Throughout all this, since the June 1967 war and perhaps even before then, the Jordanian leaders have been thinking and planning for the future of the State. The leaders have based this thinking on their faith in Jordan's Arab mission, which stems from the mission of the great Arab revolution, and on their faith in the man of the two banks of the river and in his ability to carry out his role in serving and achieving the aims of this mission. The Palestine issue was viewed from all the aspects of the entire Arab-Zionist conflict. Palestine was the first objective of the Zionist plans. The people in Palestine were the first prey and victim of these plans. The next were the people of the two dear Banks.
Even if the expansionist ambitions had a limit, it would be in the interest of Zionism to keep the Arab world weak, with its ranks scattered, to enable Zionisrn to keep its gains forever. Since the opposing camp stands as one force and bloc as a whole, all the Arabs should stand united with closed ranks in the opposite camp. Moreover, unity in itself is insufficient unless it includes a true concept of the requirements of sound civilization and modern progress.
Jordan understood the magnitude of the catastrophe which had befallen the Palestinian people. When the Zionist plot dispersed them, the sons of this people could not find in any country, Arab or non-Arab, the honourable and dignified life found by those who came to Jordan for shelter in 1948 and afterwards. Under the unity of the two Banks in Jordan, the real Palestinian regrouping, the vast majority of the people, came to live on the two banks of the immortal river. The Palestinian found the sound framework within which lie could work and move and found the real springboard for the desire of liberation and for the great hopes.
The Palestinian people existed for hundreds of years before 1948. The Palestinian people continued to exist after 1948. But the forces and currents behind the conditions which had started to prevail in the Arab world began overriding and ignoring these facts in view of the nation's confused situation and dismemberment from which it has been suffering for years. The pressure and eruption of these fabricated conditions intensified through the conferences, campaigns and plans we have been hearing of and witnessing. It was as if it was desired that the Palestinian should cut off his domestic and national links and place himself in a small bottle which could be easily smashed at any time. It was as if a new plan was being designed against that people, or rather was a move in the long chain of plots against the Palestinian people and the entire Arab nation. This suspicious move is not confined to the Palestinian minority outside the two Banks but is aimed at the majority here. It desires to push the people in the West Bank into a separation from everything with which they are connected and from everything around them. If certain powers who are encouraging and strengthening these trends do not conceal their desire to rid themselves of the responsibilities for the Palestinian issue and people, the glitter of this situation, no matter now attractive to some, should not blind us to the danger that the Palestinian people may end Lip ill a position in which they will once again be an easy and isolated prey to Israel and its insatible ambitions. That is why this move is trying to portray the Jordanian régime as coveting booty and gain. That is why it is trying to penetrate the national unity to weaken it and cast doubt on it.
The Arab World
The first inevitable result of all the conditions prevailing in the Arab world - the dispersed ranks, scattered efforts, non-existent co-ordination, rivalry ill establishing axes and camps, abandonment of the essence of the issue and its prerequisite, paying lip service to the issue once and exploiting it several times, the abandonment of real work for liberation and the devotion of efforts to domination and achievement of power - has been the continued Israeli occupation of the West Bank of Jordan and other dear Arab territories. The second inevitable result has been a further intensification of the Palestinian people's suffering. It has also been pushing the Palestinians into more confusion, bewilderment and ruin, which is on the point of overtaking the Arabs everywhere. The talk about the municipal elections in the West Bank is but one of the signs of this suffering just as it is also one of the means to exploit and use this suffering.
Despite all this, Jordan has never for one day stopped advocating the unity of ranks and the pooling and coordination of efforts. Jordan has never hesitated to extend a true capable hand to all the brothers out of its belief in the unity of the cause and fate. Jordan has never spared any effort in working for the goal of liberation.
Though Arab conditions have obstructed Jordan and impeded its steps, contemplation of the future of the State has continued along its course. This is because none of the attitudes or events could shake our faith in the inevitable triumph of the right in the end and the dissipation of the catastrophe of the dear land and the beloved kinsmen.
Though basically that faith depended on the faith in the right itself and its inevitable triumph, it derived its strength from faith in the country and the people on both banks of the river and in the nation throughout the greater homeland.
For this reason it has been decided to move the country into a new phase which basically centres on liberation and which in essence responds to the aspirations and expectations of man in our country and incorporates his faith in the unity of his nation and his affinity for it. Furthermore, it is based on absolute adherence to the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and aims at leading the Palestinian people to the point which will enable them to regain and safeguard these rights.
This was the pledge we took - to give the people the right of self-determination. This is our reply to all those who chose to cast doubts on this pledge and to render it void of all meaning. This pledge today finds its way to the ears of every citizen in this country, every member of this nation and every person in this world. Today this pledge is growing in size, exceeding the limits of its words to face all the possibilities of dispersement and scattering and to incorporate all the patriotic and national goals and manifest them in all clarity.
We wish to declare here that planning for the new phase has come as a blessed result of a long series of uninterrupted discussions and continued consultations which we have had with people's representatives, personalities, leaders and thinkers of both Banks. All have expressed the unanimous opinion that the primary formula of the phase embodies the most modern concepts of the modern State and the best models of objective democracy. Furthermore, the formula has come to help build the new society which the new man is building to be the new force which will drive us along the road of victory, progress, unity, freedom and a better life.
We are happy to declare that the bases of the proposed formula for the new phase are as follows:
(1) The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan will become a United Arab Kingdom and will bear this name.
(2) The United Arab Kingdom will consist of two regions: (a) The Palestine region which will consist of the West Bank and any other Palestinian territories which are liberated and whose inhabitants desire to join it. (b) The Jordan region, which will consist of the East Bank.
(3) Amman will be the central capital of the kingdom as well as capital of the Jordan region.
(4) Jerusalem will be the capital of the Palestine region.
(5) The Head of State will be the king, who will assume the central executive authority with the help of a central cabinet. The central legislative authority will be vested in the king and an assembly to be known as the National Assembly. Members of this assembly will be elected by direct secret ballot. Both regions will be equally represented in this assembly.
(6) The central judicial authority will be vested in a central supreme court.
(7) The kingdom will have unified armed forces whose supreme commander is the king.
(8) The responsibilities of the central executive authority will be confined to affairs connected with the kingdom as an international entity to guarantee the kingdom's security, stability and prosperity.
(9) The executive authority in each region will be assumed by a governor-general from among its sons and a regional cabinet also from among its sons.
(10) Legislative authority in each region will be assumed by a council to be called the People's Council. It will be elected by a direct secret ballot. This council will elect the region's governor-general.
(11) The judicial authority in the region will be in the hands of the region's courts and nobody will have power over them.
(12) The executive authority in each region will assume responsibility for all the affairs of the region except such affairs as the Constitution defines as coming under the jurisdiction of the central executive authority.
Naturally, the implementation of this formula and its bases must be according to the constitutional principles in force. It will be referred to the (Jordanian) National Assembly to adopt the necessary measures to prepare a new constitution.
The new phase which we look forward to will guarantee the reorganization of the Jordanian-Palestinian house in a manner which will provide it with more intrinsic power and ability to work to attain its ambition and aspirations. Proceeding from this fact, this formula will bind the two Banks with ties of stronger fibre and with closer bonds and will strengthen their brotherhood and march as a result of enhancing man's responsibility in each Bank on bases more suitable for serving their national aspiration without prejudice to any of the rights gained by any citizen, whether he be of Palestinian origin living in the Jordanian region or of Jordanian origin living in the Palestinian region.
This formula gathers and does not disperse, strengthens and does not weaken, unites and does not divide. It does not contain anything to change anything gained by any person during a unity of 20 years.
Every attempt to cast doubt on any of this or discredit it is treason against the unity of the kingdom, the cause, the people and the homeland. The experience,. vigilance and ability gained by our people make them capable of facing the forthcoming responsibilities with greater confidence and more determination. If ability is a debt for a person to use for himself and others and if vigilance is a weapon to be used for his and others' welfare, then the time has come for that person to stand up and face his responsibilities, perform them sincerely and faithfully and practise them bravely and with dignity. For this reason this formula is the title for a new bright, shining and confident page in the history of this country in which each citizen has a part and responsibility. It is partly based on sound allegiance to his faithful country and sincere devotion to his nation.
The armed forces, which from the very beginning marched under the banner of the great Arab revolution and which included and will always include in its ranks the best sons of the people in both Banks, will always be prepared to welcome more sons of both Banks. They will always be at peak efficiency, ability and organization, and will remain open to anyone anxious to serve the homeland and the cause with absolute loyalty to homeland and the cause and to the aims.
This Arab country is the country of the cause, just as it is from the Arabs and for all the Arabs. The record of its sacrifices for the nation and the cause is long and well-known. This record was written by its brave armed forces and free and loyal poeple with their blood and honourable sacrifices. Inasmuch as the attitudes toward this country change to attitudes of fraternity, assistance and support, this country will continue on the path of sacrifice with strength and hope until it and its nation regain their rights and achieve their objectives.
This Arab country belongs to all, Jordanians and Palestinians alike. When we say Palestinians we mean every Palestinian throughout the world, provided he is Palestinian by loyalty and affinity. When we call on every citizen to rise to play his part and carry out his responsibilities in the new stage, we call on every Palestinian brother outside Jordan to respond to the call of duty - unaffected by appearances and attempts to outdo others and free from weaknesses and deviations - to proceed with his relatives and brothers in a march whose basis is this formula and to be united in rank and clear in aim in order that all may participate in attaining the aim of liberation and establishing the cherished edifice and strong structure.
If God helps you, none can defeat you. For God is mighty and strong. Peace be with you.
Source: Israeli Foreign Ministry