What was the status of Jerusalem at the end of the War of Independence?
In May 1948, parts of eastern Jerusalem were occupied by the Arab Legion of King Abdullah Bin al-Husein of Transjordan. The fighting divided Jerusalem into the western, Israeli-held new city and the eastern, Arab-held old city.
The Palestine Arab Congress met in two meeting in December 1948 (in Jericho on 1 December, in Nablus on 28 December). to declare King Abdullah Bin al-Husein of Transjordanthe King of Palestine and invited him to join the west bank of the Jordan River and Jerusalem with Transjordan. This invitation was approved by Transjordan’s Parliament in December 1948, and de facto annexation took place in March 1949 when the military government was replaced by civilian administration after control of Jerusalem was confirmed by the armistice with Israel in April 1949.
Jerusalem was defined as part of a “corpus separatum” in the UN Resolutions, not part ofthe Jewish or Arab states created by the proposed partition plan. But the Arab rejection ofthe UN partition plan led Israel to consider that plan null and void. Jerusalem, at leastthe parts held by the Israelis on their side of the 1949 armistice line, became the capital of Israel on December 26, 1949. Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Guriondeclared:
- Jerusalem is an inseparable part of Israel, and her eternal capital. No United Nations vote can alter that historic fact.
Even though only Pakistan and Britain recognized Hussein’s sovereignty over what the world media refers to as the “West Bank” and “Arab East” Jerusalem, the east half of Jerusalem was “ethnically cleansed” of its Jews. Jews lived in all parts of Jerusalem for centuries encircling the Holy Temple Mount, until 1948 when King Hussein’s soldiers killed many and forced the rest out. For 19 years King Hussein of Jordan not only made the eastern half of Jerusalem “judenrein” (Hitler’s term for “free of Jews”) but he eradicated the symbols of Judaism. Cemeteries were vandalized. Jewish headstones were used for roads and toilets. 58 Jewish synagogues in the Jewish Old City were destroyed or converted into stables for horses by Hussein. His attempt to wipe out any trace of a Jewish presence and almost succeeded,but he was driven out by the Israelis in June 1967. Because local Arabs in Jerusalem failed during the thirty years of the British Mandate to form a government structure or the necessary institutions for a viable state, all municipal finances and personnel appointments are taken over by Transjordan.