Jericho Congress (1948)

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JERICHO CONGRESS (1948)

Conference of Palestinians organized by King Abdullah.

Held in Jericho on 1 December 1948, the Jericho Congress was convened in response to the establishment of the State of Israel and the corresponding loss to the Arabs of most of Palestine. This provided the legal basis for the union of central Palestine (the West Bank and East Jerusalem) with Transjordan (East Bank). The conference was presided over by Shaykh Muhammad Ali Jaʿbari, mayor of Hebron, and included leaders from Jerusalem, Hebron, Bethlehem, Nablus, and Ramallah, as well as representatives of refugees from Israeli-occupied cities and towns. It was attended by 1,000 delegates, including mayors, tribal chiefs, mukhtars, and military governors from all over Palestine. The conferees voted unanimously to request unity with Jordan; proclaimed Abdullah I ibn Hussein to be king of all Palestine; affirmed faith in the unity of Palestine; called for the return of Palestinian refugees to their homes; called on Arab states to continue the fight to save Palestine; and asked King Abdullah to hold elections for legitimate Palestinian representatives for consultations on affairs of Palestine. It was understood that the union would not compromise Arab rights to Palestine. The conference also repudiated the All-Palestine Government in Gaza sponsored by the Arab Higher Committee. On 7 December, the Jordanian cabinet under Tawfiq Abu al-Huda approved the resolutions, and parliament ratified them 13 December. The Jordanian election law was amended, doubling the number of seats in the lower house of parliament to forty, designating half for representatives from the West Bank and Jerusalem and the other half from Jordan. Elections to the new, expanded parliament were held in 1950, and unity was ratified unanimously on 24 April 1950.

Egypt strongly opposed the union. Syria criticized it but did not oppose it outright. Britain approved of the congress and its resolutions. Israel's recognition of the union was implicit in the armistice agreement between the two countries. The United States granted de jure recognition on 31 January 1949.

see also abdullah i ibn hussein; abu alhuda, tawfiq; all-palestine government; arab higher committee (palestine).


Bibliography


Dann, Uriel. King Hussein and the Challenge of Arab Radicalism: Jordan, 19551967. New York: Oxford University Press in cooperation with the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, Tel Aviv University, 1989.

Nevo, Joseph. King Abdallah and Palestine: A Territorial Ambition. New York: St. Martin's, 1966.

Shlaim, Avi. Collusion across the Jordan: King Abdullah, the Zionist Movement, and the Partition of Palestine. New York: Columbia University Press, 1988.

Wilson, Mary. King Abdullah, Britain, and the Making of Jordan. Cambridge, U.K., and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987.

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