Jordan Annexed West Bank after 1948 War

What did the Arabs do about Jordan’s annexation of the parts of Palestine they captured?

In April 1950, Jordan annexed eastern Jerusalem (dividing the city for the first time in its history) and the “West Bank” areas in historical Judea and Samaria that Trans-Jordan had occupied by military force in 1948 (Jordan changed its name to Trans-Jordan in April 1949). On April 24, 1950, the Jordan House of Deputies and House of Notables, in a joint session, adopted a Resolution making the West Bank and Jerusalem part of Jordan. This act had nobasis in international law; it was only the de facto act of Trans-Jordan as a conquerer.The other Arab countries denied formal recognition of the Jordanian move and only two governments – Great Britain and Pakistan – formally recognized the Jordanian takeover. The rest of the world, including the United States, never did.

After the 1948 War for Independence and the Jordanian takeover, the Palestinian Arabs never attempted to establish an independent state in the territory alloted to them by the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan. They cooperated with its unilateral annexation by Jordan, becoming part of Jordan's political system. Across the barbed wire that marked the dividing line, Jordanian East Jerusalem was not made the capital, even for its Palestinian residents, in 19 years of Jordanian rule. The capital remained in Amman. There was no outcry of claims of "Palestinian" identity being submerged by Jordan. The reason there was no Arab outrage over the annexation was because Jordan is a state whose ethnic majority is Palestinian Arabs. On the other hand, the Palestinians of Jordan are disenfranchised by the ruling Hashemite minority. Despite this fact, in the years following the annexation the Palestinians displayed no interest in achieving "self-determination" in Hashemite Jordan. It is only the presence of Jews, apparently, that incites this claim. The Jordanian "occupation" of the West Bank was very abusive of therights of Jews and Christians, or any resident of Israel. During the 1948-1967 period of its occupation, Jordan permitted terrorists to launch raids into Israel.Jewish and muslim residents of Israel were not permitted to visit their Holy Places in East Jerusalem. Christians, too, were discriminated against. In 1958, Jordanian legislation required all members of the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre to adopt Jordanian citizenship. In 1965, Christian institutions were forbidden to acquire any land or rights in or near Jerusalem. In 1966, Christian schools were compelled to close on Fridays instead of Sundays, customs privileges of Christian religious institutions were abolished. Jerusalem was bisected by barbed wire, concrete barriers and walls. On a number of occasions Jordanian soldiers opened fire on Jewish Jerusalem. In May 1967, the Temple Mount became a military base for the Jordanian National Guard.

§ 3 Responses to Jordan Annexed West Bank after 1948 War"

  • MarcV says:

    This is an excellent summary of the history of Jordan’s creation and West Bank legal status. I do not understand why Jordan and Israel did not split the West Bank between them when they signed the 1994 peace treaty. It makes no sense for the West Bank to be a stand alone country. The Arab Spring is starting up in Jordan and the Hashemite-minority absolute monarchy will have to give way to a Palestinian-majority parliamentary democracy (just like Syria’s Alawite-minority dictatorship is having to give way to the Sunni-majority).

    For all the history you summarize here, as well as practicality, the “Jordan option” should be at the forefront of the peace process in place of “one-state” or “two-state” proposals west of the Jordan River. The West Bank Palestinians would be better off as a majority in a larger, more viable country. No relocation is necessary if Jordan annexes Areas A/B and Israel annexes Area C. Gaza should revert to Egyptian sovereignty since Hamas has done such a poor job of turning it into another Singapore.

  • David says:


    Along with Syria’s Golan Heights and Lebanon’s Shebaa Farms, since June 1967, Israel has belligerently/illegally/brutally occupied the Palestinian West Bank as well as East Jerusalem, including its illegally expanded boundaries. (Under international law, Israel is still occupying the Gaza Strip as it controls all but one of its entrances/exits, its airspace and sea access.)

    UNSC Res. 446, 22 March 1979: “…the policy and practices of Israel in establishing settlements in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967 have no legal validity…”

    UNSC Res. 465 1 March 1980: “…all measures taken by Israel to change the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure or status of the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, or any part thereof, have no legal validity and…Israel’s policy and practices of settling parts of its population and new immigrants in those territories constitute a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention…”

    The U.S. State Department 24 Feb. 2004: “Israel occupied the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights after the 1967 War…. The international community does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over any part of the occupied territories.”

    In 2004, the International Court of Justice, the only legal body with the authority to decide, unanimously ruled that “no territorial acquisition resulting from the threat or use of force shall be recognized as legal.” The Court denoted this principle a “corollary” of the U.N. Charter and as such “customary international law” and a “customary rule” binding on all member States of the United Nations.

    British Foreign Office:

    British Foreign Secretary William Hague regarding Jewish settlements in the West Bank (5 April 2011): “This is not disputed territory. It is occupied Palestinian territory and ongoing settlement expansion is illegal under international law, an obstacle to peace and a threat to a two state solution.”

  • mike holmes says:

    “It is only the presence of Jews that incites” the claim to “self determination”. Snide but not descriptive. When the Jordanians were present they didn’t steal the land, divide it into uneconomic sub parcels and prevent Palestinians from traveling or trading among themselves. Had they acted like Jews I submit they would have been no more welcome and invited the same claims to “self determination”

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