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Palestine: fixing the figures, fudging the facts

By David Singer - posted Thursday, 6 October 2011

As the United Nations Security Council and the General Assembly continue to consider the PLO application for the State of Palestine to be admitted as the 194th member of the UN - there is concern in Jordan that approval of such application could:

  • represent a distinct threat to continued Hashemite rule in Jordan and
  • challenge Jordan's right to exist as a viable and independent State within secure and recognized boundaries.

Jordan's King Abdullah had indicated his concern at these possibilities prior to the PLO presenting its application for membership to the UN on 23 September. Clearly worried by the possible outcome of the current UN hearings - the King had been at pains to stress Jordan's independence stating on September 12:

Jordan is Jordan and Palestine is Palestine. We haven't changed politically and we will not change. The 'alternative Palestinian homeland' will never be part of the discussion; it is not an option and is not in the Jordanian lexicon

Jordan's foreign minister - Nasser Judeh - reportedly said two days later that whilst his country supported the Palestinian campaign - the best way to attain statehood was by direct negotiations. Whilst this might well be Jordan's position - it is certainly not the PLO's. Jordan's fears appear to be have been well founded after PLO Chairman - Mahmoud Abbas - told the General Assembly on 23 September :

Yet, because we believe in peace and because of our conviction in international legitimacy, and because we had the courage to make difficult decisions for our people, and in the absence of absolute justice, we decided to adopt the path of relative justice - justice that is possible and could correct part of the grave historical injustice committed against our people. Thus, we agreed to establish the State of Palestine on only 22% of the territory of historical Palestine - on all the Palestinian Territory occupied by Israel in 1967.

Mr Abbas's statement followed closely on the heels of a similar one made just four days earlier by Palestinian Ambassador to Australia - Izzat Abdulhadi - who said:

Palestine would become a State on the Occupied Palestinian Territories or 22% of historic Palestine, while Israel retained 78% of historic Palestine." (Australian September 19).

The publication of these virtually identical - but misleading and deceptive - statements within days of each other must surely have confirmed King Abdullah's worst fears. They were the latest in a long line of similar statements made by Abbas and other PLO spokesman over recent years designed to deceive, mislead and conceal what the PLO Charter itself declares - and what the PLO ultimately seeks to achieve - the destruction of the State of Israel and the overthrow of the Hashemite regime in Jordan and its replacement by the PLO. Article 2 of the PLO Charter makes these twin objectives crystal clear by declaring: "Palestine, with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate, is an indivisible territorial unit." The territory of the British Mandate covered Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and Jordan. Israel comprised 17%, the West Bank and Gaza comprised 5%, whilst Jordan comprised the remaining 78% of historic Palestine. The Committee for Accurate Reporting of the Middle East in America (CAMERA) succinctly summarizes this reality as follows:

In fact, the original land of Palestine, as determined by the League of Nations, included what is now Israel, Gaza, the West Bank and the entire state of Jordan. The British transferred nearly 78% of historic Palestine to the Arabs to create a new entity called the Emirate of Transjordan. Jews were forbidden to live, buy land or become citizens there. The UN partition plan proposed a division of the remaining 22% of the land between Jews and Arabs, and the armistice lines (1949-1967) left Israel with approximately 16.5% of the original Mandate area.

Abbas's misrepresentation of the boundaries of historic Palestine at the UN was designed to:

  • enlist international sympathy by misleadingly claiming that Israel is the greatest territorial beneficiary of the Mandate - when in fact it was Jordan that has secured the lion's share of the Mandate territory and
  • conceal the fact that the PLO has any designs on removing the Hashemite rulers in Jordan
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About the Author

David Singer is an Australian Lawyer, a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International - an organisation calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine. Previous articles written by him can be found at

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