In 1917, the Balfour Declaration announced the support of the British government to create a national Jewish homeland in their territory of Palestine. The Declaration had no partition involved and was intended to solely have a place for Jews throughout the world to call home. Palestine was the traditional home of Jews and there has always been a remnant living there since they first arrived over 3000 years ago.
Due to lack of action on the part of the British government, the Belfour Declaration did not become a reality. The newly formed United Nations brought up the issue of a Jewish homeland in 1946. The vote to partition the land took place in 1947, which brought about the creation of Jordan from land originally promised to the Jews in 1917. The West Bank was included in the partition for the Jewish state, which was taken by Jordan after Israel’s War of Independence.
Those who lived in Palestine prior to 1947 were divided into Jews and Arabs. References to Palestinians were always about Jews living in Palestine. Muslims were always called Arabs. There was no Palestinian country created at this time, or any other throughout history. The closest is the partition created as an Arab state by the UN, which is Jordan.
The Arab refugees who had entered Jordan shortly after the UN voted to partition Palestine, which made up those who were called Palestinians in 1970, was a direct result of the Arab nations, including Jordan, refusing to allow the existence of a Jewish state. It was the Arabs who declared war on Israel, which Israel defended herself and won her War of Independence.
Refugee camps were set up in Jordan to house the Arabs who had fled after the Arab world declared war on Israel. Rather than have the quick victory and complete annihilation of the Jewish state, the Arab nations lost the war and the Arab refugees remained in Jordan until September of 1970.
It was not until after the creation of the PLO in 1964 that Palestinian was used to describe the people who are called Palestinian today. Yasser Arafat had brought together numerous terrorist organizations under the banner of the PLO and moved from Kuwait to Jordan, since it was easier to carry out terrorist attacks against Israel.
Over the next six years, Palestinians became a term used for a different people than had historically been attributed. It went from being a reference to Jews to a reference to people once called Arabs. The new classification meant 2/3rds of Jordan’s population had been reclassified as Palestinian.
Jordan’s King Hussein was one of the financiers of the PLO and had no problem with terrorist activities being used against Israel. It wasn’t until after Jordan’s devastating loss to Israel in 1967, the result of the Six-Day War, that King Hussein altered his position on supporting terrorist attacks on Israel.
The fedayeen moved their bases to Jordan following the loss of the West Bank, which had originally been a part of Israel according to the 1947 UN partition. They increased their terrorist attacks on Israel and gained support throughout the Jordanian population. By early 1970, the PLO was openly calling for the overthrow of King Hussein’s government due to a lack of clear support.
The PLO became a state within the borders of Jordan as they set up their own laws. There were two attempts on King Hussein’s life, which lead to direct confrontation between the PLO and the Jordanian military in June of 1970. The Palestinians represented 2/3rds of the population of Jordan and did have the numbers on their side and Syrian military assistance, but not the air cover needed to win the war.
In September of 1970, the Jordanian military shelled the refugee camps. Rather than go through to find the terrorists and deal with them militarily, they chose the option of indiscriminate killing of civilians. Men, women, children, the elderly and infirm died as a direct action taken by Jordan.
The Jordanian military pushed every Palestinian out of their country, which left thousands dead. These were not just the fedayeen who had been actively fighting the Jordanian military, but civilians of all ages. Women, children and the elderly were killed as if they were every bit the same as the fedayeen fighters.
Had the Arab countries never declared war on the fledgling state of Israel and been able to accept a Jewish state as any other, there would have been no Arab refugees. It was the Arab refugees who had created a state within the borders of Jordan and those same Arab refugees who were financially supported by King Hussein. Israel did not create the issues leading to Black September and have treated those forced out of Jordan far better than the Jordanian government.
Everything leading to the slaughter of Palestinians as they were being forced out of Jordan can be traced back to the actions taken by Jordan. It was Jordan who declared war on Israel as one of their first actions after becoming a country and their financial support of terrorist actions being taken by the PLO as they set up their bases in Jordan. King Hussein chose to tolerate terrorism as a means to kill as many Jews as possible and he should not have been surprised when those same terrorists turned on the Jordanian government.
King Hussein has largely been given a pass as the direct actions he ordered his military to take. The Jordanian military was responsible for more loss of life driving the Palestinians out of Jordan than all actions of the IDF combined. Some of what Israel has been accused of doing, without any facts to support the claims, was exactly what Jordan did.