All Palestine Government: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict – Part Ten
All Palestine Government
The All-Palestine Government was established by the Arab League (a regional organization of Arab countries in and around North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and Southwest Asia on March 22, 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan (renamed Jordan in 1949), Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Syria on 22 September 1948), during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. It was soon recognized by all Arab League members, except Jordan.
Though jurisdiction of the Government was declared to cover the whole of the former Mandatory Palestine, its effective jurisdiction was limited to the Gaza Strip. The Jericho Conference (held in December 1948 to decide the future of the portion of Palestine that was held by Jordan at the end of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War) named King Abdullah I of Transjordan, “King of Arab Palestine”. The Conference called for the union of Arab Palestine and Transjordan and Abdullah announced his intention to annex the West Bank. The other Arab League member states opposed Abdullah’s plan.
Quid Pro Quo
The U.S. supported Israeli claims to the boundaries set forth in the UN General Assembly resolution; however, also believed that if Israel sought to retain additional territory in Palestine it should give the Arabs other territory as compensation. The Israelis agreed that the boundaries were negotiable, but did not agree to the principle of compensation as a precondition. Israel’s Foreign Minister stressed that it was undesirable to undermine what had already been accomplished by the armistice agreements, and maintained that Israel held no territory wrongfully, since occupation of the areas had been sanctioned by the armistice agreements, as had the occupation of the territory in Palestine held by the Arab states.
In late 1949, the UNCCP (United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine consisting of France, Turkey and the United States created December 11, 1948 in order to mediate the Arab–Israeli conflict) Economic Survey Mission for the Middle East recommended four development projects, involving the Wadi Zerqa basin in Jordan, the Wadi Qelt watershed and stream bed in Arab Palestine, the Litani River in Lebanon, and the Ghab valley in Syria. The World Bank considered the mission’s plans positive, and the U.S. subsequently announced that the Foreign Economic Assistance Act of 1950 contained an appropriation of $27 million dollars for the development projects recommended by the Commission and to assist Palestinian refugees.
As far as the U.S. recognizing the union of Arab Palestine and Jordan, the State Department’s position was not to issue formal statements of recognition every time a foreign country changed its territorial area. The union of Arab Palestine and Jordan had been brought about as a result of the will of the people and the U.S. accepted the fact that Jordanian sovereignty had been extended to the new area.
The All-Palestine Government was under official Egyptian protection. Its role was not executive, but mostly political and symbolic. Its importance gradually declined, especially with the government seat relocation from Gaza to Cairo, following the Suez Crisis (a diplomatic and military confrontation in late 1956 between Egypt on one side, and Britain, France and Israel on the other, with the United States, the Soviet Union, and the United Nations playing major roles in forcing Britain, France and Israel to withdraw.)
In 1959, the All-Palestine entity was officially merged into the United Arab Republic, becoming de-facto under Egyptian military occupation. The All-Palestine Government is regarded by some as the first attempt to establish an independent Palestinian state, whilst most just saw it as an Egyptian puppet, only to be annulled a few years after its creation by no less than President Nasser.
Palestine: Part 11 – Suez Crisis