Creation of Transjordan

How did the Arab territory of Transjordan come into being?

The 1922 White Paper (also called the Churchill White Paper) was the first official manifesto interpreting the Balfour Declaration. It was issued on June 3, 1922, after investigation of the 1921 disturbances. Although the White Paper stated that the Balfour Declaration could not be amended and that the Jews were in Palestine by right, it partitioned the area of the Mandate by excluding the area east of the Jordan River from Jewish settlement. That land, 76% of the original Palestine Mandate land, was renamed Transjordan and was given to the Emir Abdullah by the British.


The White Paper included the statement that the British Government:

  • ... does not want Palestine to become "as Jewish as England is English", rather should become "a center in which Jewish people as a whole may take, on grounds of religion and race, an interest and a pride."

After the partition, Transjordan remained part of the Palestine Mandate and its legal system applied to all residents, both East and West of the Jordan River, who all carried Palestine Mandate passports. Palestine Mandate currency was the legal tender in Transjordan as well as the area West of the river. This was the consistent situation until 1946, 24 years later, when Britain completed the action by unilaterally granting Transjordan its independence. Thus the British subverted the purpose of the Palestine Mandate, partitioned Palestine and created an independent Palestine-Arab state with no regard for the rights and needs of the Jewish population.

According to Sir Alec Kirkbride, the British representative in the area, Transjordan was:

  • ... intended to serve as a reserve of land for use in the resettlement of Arabs once the National Home for the Jews in Palestine, which [Britain was] pledged to support, became an accomplished fact. There was no intention at that stage of forming the territory east of the River Jordan into an independent Arab state.

In 1925, the British added 60,000 sq. km. of desert to eastern Transjordan forming an "arm" of land to connect Transjordan with Iraq and to cut Syria off from the Arabian Peninsula. The British continued to favor exclusive Arab development east of the Jordan River by enacting restrictive regulations against the Jews, even when Arab leaders sought Jewish involvement in the development of Transjordan.

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§ 15 Responses to Creation of Transjordan

  • AEB says:

    I simply wish to know who gave Jews the “right” to land which had an Arab majority?

    • Paul Sheaf says:

      Who gave the right to Muslims to invade the holyland and occupy it? The World gave the right of return to the Jews through the Palestine Mandate laid out in the San Remo Conference in 1922 Signed by 56 Nations under binding international law that is still binding today, recognizing the fact of 3500 years of continous historic Jewish connection with the land and even so the british government partitioned and took away almost 80% of the designated area and gave it to the arab population. Prior to this the ottomans ruled the land and it was taken from them during the 1st world war.
      The arab connection goes back to 690AD. Jews never opposed the presence of the Arabs but the arabs attitude was not mutual and has never been.
      Also 850000 Jews were kicked out of Arab countries with just the clothes they wore (If they were lucky), Many were murdered.

    • Narendra says:

      No one gave them the right. The British ruled the country after betraying the Arabs and the Zionists were their collaborators using the Balfour declaration to disposess the Palestinians and drive them out through massacres such as Deir Yesin and Tantura. The stories about the bible and the return to the Jewish homeland are failytales and fiction used to justify the displacment of Palestinians. Historically Jews have existed from Morocco to China and there is no common Jewish nation or homeland.

    • Robert Graham says:

      Paul, you have misread this article. The Arabs were more willing to be nice to the Jews at many points in the history described in this article, but the United Kingdom continued to put regulations on them. Also, the Jews are almost as responsible for many of the Arab-Jew conflicts as the Arabs, if not as much as the Arabs. Looking back at history, especially around 690 C.E., and the Jews did in fact have much opposition to the Arabs. Also, 1922 is when the Churchill White Paper was signed, not the original Mandate. I know this seems smart-alecy, but then you need to get your facts right if you are going to say something comtemptful. In the time period in question, the British did not have any smart people in political positions and executive positions. The British took the land from the Mandate, not the “Muslims.”

  • KarenP says:

    @AEB: God. He clearly demarcated the boundaries of the Israeli homeland in the Old Testament when Joshua took them into the area in about 1450 BC. The Israelites lived there for roughly 1500 years before being dispersed by the Romans in 70 A.D. (in fulfillment of prophecy, as a result of their rejection of Jesus Christ as their Messiah). Although the Jewish state ceased to exist at that time, Jews still lived in their ancestral homeland over the next 2000 years, up to current times. In direct fulfillment of both OT and NT prophecy, the state of Israel was created in 1948 AD and the Jews have since returned en masse to their homeland. Israel/Palestine has been the Israeli/Jewish homeland for at least the last 3500 years. Yes, many Arabs moved into the Israelites homeland as part of the Muslim wars of conquest (roughly 640 AD to 1800 AD), but there has never been any question about whose land they were occupying, (and continue to occupy).

    • Jim says:

      Wow you are missing a few pieces of history. The Israelites left in around 600 BC for Babylon (involuntarily), long before the Roman actions. The world politic does not recognize god as a demarker of nations. Prophecy is irrelevant, especially when known to the magical ‘enactors’. The population of “Palestine” in 1890, just before the Zionist Congress(es) heated up, didn’t contain many Jewish people… practically none outside Jersualem itself. None of this matters. The British colonial power made the errors, making silly promises and then running away when the contradictions created an eternally intractable situation by which all now suffer.

  • anna korte says:

    There are dozens of prophesies in the Bible about the return of the Jews to their homeland after being scattered among all the nations. E.g. Amos 9:15″I will plant Israel in their own land never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them.”

  • Lydia says:

    @Jim, Jewish people never completely left Israel at 600BC – that was the first diaspora when the first temple was destroyed. There wouldn’t have been anyone for the Romans to disperse if your statement were true. The Romans destroyed the second temple and also enslaved many Jewish people.

    During the Diasporas, many Jews ended up in the surrounding Arab countries. These Arab countries proceeded to force out these Jewish people during the time leading up to and immediately following Israel becoming a state. Many of these people lost their property, homes, etc…. there were actually MORE Jewish refugees from the Arab countries than there were “Palestinian” refugees.

    As for the late 1800′s…. actually, very few people lived in the swamplands and sand dunes that comprised much of Israel during this time. In the early 1800′s Jewish people began purchasing a portion of the lands, improved them with modern agricultural techniques and established settlements. This land was purchased for a price that exceeded the amount they would typically be sold for. The improvements to the lands actually attracted ARABS from neighboring lands.

    “Arab claims that the Jews have obtained too large a proportion of good land cannot be maintained. Much of the land now carrying orange groves was sand dunes or swamps and uncultivated when it was bought.”—Peel Commission Report, 1937

    • Narendra says:

      There was always a Jewish presence in Palestine and there is no historical evidence that the Jews were dispersed forcibly from Palestine. The Palestinians are descendants of the ancient Jewish, Christian and Druze people and neither did all the world’s Jews originate from Palestine. Jews have been converted at several places for centuries and range from the Berbers of Morroco and Algeria to Libyan, Tunisian, Egyptian, Iraqi, Iranian, the Himyar of Yemen, the falashmura of Ethiopia, the Shanivar Teli and Cochinites of India and the Shanghai Jews of China and the European Jews of Germany, Hungary, Austraia, Poland, Russia and Ukraine.
      The creation of Israel is an act of colonial racism similar to the extermination of indigenour Americans, Australians and New Zealanders.

  • Lori Castady says:

    Wow is right. as Jim said the world does not recognize god as a demarker of nations. The comments the British colonial power is right on the money. good job Jim

  • Lori Castady says:

    “God. He clearly demarcated the boundaries of the Israeli homeland in the Old Testament when Joshua took them into the area in about 1450 BC.” It’s hard to believe anyone would use this as a reason for anything. Who declared the Hebrew bible the authority on demarcation after the fall of the Ottoman, this is all just nonsense.

  • Lori Castady says:

    How can references to god and Joshua be used as a logical answer, that the rest of the world is suppose to accept when over half the worlds population doesn’t believe in the christian god and don’t even know what the OT and NT are. That’s how ridiculous this all is, it’s just horrific that so much suffering has occurred and all the lives that have been lost. We are still at the point we were at in 1096,nothing has changed. We would still be fighting the crusades if it weren’t for Salahuddeen, who liberated Jerusalem after the battle of Hattin & with extreme generosity let the Christians go with all their belongings

  • Narendra says:

    There are dozens of exhortations in the bible recommending killing sons, enslaving people and carrying out mass murder. Wonder if they are acceptable justifications for the actions of the Nazis?

  • A.C. says:

    If the creation of the state of Israel was an act of colonial racism, what was the creation of the state of Trans-Jordan at the end of WW 1, which consumed 77% of what had been Palestine for hundreds of years under the Ottoman Empire, one of the loosers in that war ? All Jews were evicted. No Jews allowed. No right of return. To this day the constitution of Jordan reads ” Any one can become a citizen of Jordan except a Jew” Thats not racism ?
    In 1948 when Israel was created, over 800,000 Jews who had nothing to do with the cration of Israel were evicted from their home lands in Arab countries. Thats not racism ?

  • Stevek says:

    If you are so objective and don’t belive in G-d concider that Soudi Arebia, Iraq, Jordan all were created by British colonial power.
    Non of thecountries exist before. It was Ottoam empire where jews actually florished. Why do you forget of that? Lookup the history and if you like stick to it. Palestinians didn’t exist as a nation and incorporate everybody who lived in the lend and jews as well are palestinians. Who enhabitted that slum of Ottaman epire is some beduin tribes who still live in Israel.

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