The Jericho Conference on Palestine-Jordan Unity
In October 1948, King Abdullah began a series of steps to annex the areas of Palestine his army captured during the 1948 War. On December 1, 1948, a conference was organized in Jericho to decide the future of the portion of Palestine that was held by Jordan at the end of the 1948 War. Pro-Jordanian representatives called for the annexation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, to Jordan. The Conference was attended by numerous delegations including mayors of Hebron, Bethlehem, Ramallah, the Arab Legion Military Governor General and military governors from all districts, and other notables.
Six resolutions were proposed but only the following four were adopted:
- Palestine Arabs desire unity between Transjordan and Arab Palestine and therefore make known their wish that Arab Palestine be annexed immediately to Transjordan. They also recognize Abdullah as their King and request him proclaim himself King of new territory.
- Palestine Arabs express gratitude to Arab states for their efforts in behalf of liberation of Palestine (Nuweihid indicated object of this was hint to Arab states that their job was done).
- Expression of thanks to Arab states for their generous assistance and support to Palestine Arab refugees.
- Resolve that purport of first resolution be conveyed to King at once.
King Abdullah attended a Palestinian conference in Ramallah on December 26, 1948, which declared its support for the Jericho Conference resolutions, as did a subsequent Nablus conference.
Rather than seek independence for a Palestinian state, the Arabs from the area allotted for an Arab state in the UN partition resolution swore fealty to the king.
In December 1948, the Secretary of State authorized the U.S. Consul in Amman to advise King Abdullah and the officials of Transjordan that the US accepted the principles contained in the resolutions of the Jericho Conference, and that the U.S. viewed incorporation with Transjordan as the logical disposition of Arab Palestine. The United States subsequently extended de jure recognition to the Government of Transjordan and the Government of Israel on the same day – January 31, 1949.
The Arab League condemned the Jericho Conference, the Syrian press declared the resolutions a violation of self-determination, Iraqi prime minister Nuri as-Said called on Abdullah to delay the unification and the former Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, declared the measures null and void. Abdullah ignored them all. Great Britain and Pakistan were the only countries that recognized Jordan’s annexation and occupation.
The Transjordanian government gradually assumed the civil functions of the West Bank, paying the salaries of civil servants and absorbing local governors into what was henceforth called the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. In February 1949, the Jordanian Nationality Law was amended to grant every Palestinian Jordanian citizenship.
Sources: “Jericho Conference,” Wikipedia;
Foreign relations of the United States, 1948. The Near East, South Asia, and Africa, United States Department of State, (1948), pp. 1645-1646.