Nancy Goodman
A maverick Jew living in the Wild West

From the river to Iraq…

Source for image Additional info for image: April 25, 1920: Former Ottoman-controlled territories in the Middle East are assigned as mandates to Allied powers. At the post-World War I San Remo Conference in Italy, former Ottoman-controlled territories are allotted as "mandates" among the victorious Allies. Established as part of the Treaty of Versailles….Syria and Lebanon are assigned to France, Palestine and Iraq to Britain. Transjordan is created from the Palestine Mandate in 1921.

What is the most efficient, bloodless way to commit genocide of a cultural group?

Take the land where they live, that already has a culturally-identified nickname, give it to a king, and call it something else. Name it after a river, for example. Lay that new, unrelated name over the people, completely erasing their cultural identity.

At the dawn of modern Israel, dozens of declarations, proclamations, and mandates called for a general divide of Jewish and Arab territories, from the Mediterranean Sea, to the Jordan River, and eastward to Iraq and Saudi Arabia. The land was to be split, quite unevenly, between Jews and Arabs. At the time, the word Arab in that territory was synonymous with the word Palestinian. Same difference. Arab, Muslim “Palestinians” were just nonspecific Arabs living along both sides of a river in the ancient Levant and Ottoman Empire.

When the British and French first divided what they claimed from WWI, the Brits put what I’d call a placeholder name over the Arab region beyond the Jordan river—giving it the clever name of “Transjordan,” or “we are going to give this land beyond the Jordan river, and its people, to our buddy Prince Emir Abdullah of Istanbul.” Not to the local Muslim Arabs, for the formation of a sovereign Palestinian country.

That is imperialism at its finest. Kings and queens have been deeding land to each other for millennia, leaving the fates of the people to the whims of royal courts. In this case, we have a Turkish king moving in and naming a departing gift from a British king Jordan, not Palestine.

So what came first, the Palestinian or the Jordanian? The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has been keeping the biggest secret, and playing the cruelest trick, since the beginning of Abdullah’s reign. Jordan has buried the truth that there was no kind of Muslim Arab on either side of the Jordan river other than a Palestinian Arab, before Iraqi and Syrian Arabs came to Jordan many years later. Jordan doesn’t want you to know all those agreements were for land to be divided between Jews and Arabs–not Jews, Arabs, the different Arabs, and those other Arabs over there. Not a thousand little Palestines.

I really must tip my hat to Jordan and the Arab world for the audacity and boldness of this stunt. Cutting Palestinians off from other Palestinians, deciding who is a “right” Palestinian and a “wrong” Palestinian. Playing around with citizenship rights, keeping Palestinians in refugee camps all over the Near East, and getting the whole world to bark up the wrong tree in an antisemitic frenzy. How smart to pit Palestinians against Israel “from the river to the sea,” for territory significantly smaller than land Palestinian Arabs were originally deeded in spirit after WWI. Suckers.

Jordan’s royal flag is draped over the legitimate Palestinian claim east of the Jordan River, disguised under the wrong name and a whole lot of Jew-hating. I say, time to lift the curtain, and make Jordan accountable. The post-October 7 world calls for radically different discussions, and “from the river to Iraq, Palestinians get it back” is a slogan I could really get behind.

About the Author
A Chicagoland native, Nancy is a licensed counselor and writer living in her own private Idaho. There is something about the arid summers and making latkes in the potato state that connects Nancy to her Jewish roots. She believes Jehovah forgives Jews who don't attend services or keep kosher, if they stand for Israel.
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