Jordan: Changing face of an old land

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The Independent Online
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan was part of the Turkish Empire but after the Turkish defeat in the First World War the territory of Jordan became part of the short-lived Syrian kingdom of King Faisal I (later King of Iraq).

In 1920 Faisal was defeated by the French, the Syrian mandate was given to France and the Emirate of Transjordan was incorporated into Britain's mandate of Palestine. King Abdullah, Faisal's brother, was chosen to rule in 1921. In 1928 a treaty with Britain made Transjordan a constitutional monarchy, until 1946, when a second treaty created the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan.

Transjordan opposed the partition of Palestine and joined the other Arab nations in fighting the new Israeli state in 1948. By the end of the war it occupied a section of West Bank designated by the UN for the Arabs. Its name was changed to Jordan in 1949, and in 1950 it formally annexed the West Bank territory. Abdullah was assassinated in 1951. His son Talal reigned for a year but stepped down in favour of his son Hussein I.

A split developed within Jordan over the Palestinian problem; the Jordanian government claimed sole guardianship of the Palestinian Arabs, offering Jordanian nationality to any Palestinians in 1960; but this claim was disputed by the militant refugees, who established in 1964 the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO). Threats from these militants induced the King to accept the risk of war in 1967, although the fighting cost Jordan the West Bank.

Jordan renounced its West Bank claims at a 1974 Arab summit when it signed the Rabat resolution, which declared the PLO sole legitimate representative of the Palestinians. In 1988 Jordan announced that it was officially severing all legal and administrative ties to the West Bank and surrendering its claim to the PLO.

- Fiona Bell

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