Specch by Jordan's King Hussein
Proposing a United Arab Kingdom in The Event of a Peaceful Settlement
Amman, 15 March 1972
In the midst of this sea of suffering created by the June calamity, the aims of the Jordan government in the period which followed the war were summed up in attaining two goals: a brave and steadfast stand in the face of continuous and unceasing aggression against the East Bank, and a strong determination to liberate the occupied land and free our kin and brethren in the West Bank. All our efforts were directed to achieve both these goals in an atmosphere of confidence that the Arab states would support Jordan in its predicament, and with an unlimited trust that the unity of Arab destiny had become a deeply rooted reality in the conscience of the whole Arab nation, a reality which cannot be shaken by regional interests, however great, and which cannot be reached by vicious plans and evil intentions, however underhanded.
Suddenly, Jordan found itself facing a new catastrophe, which if allowed to befall the country, would have resulted in the loss of the East Bank, and would have laid the stage for a final liquidation of the Palestinian case forever. The forces planning for this calamity had mobilized many an element to serve their purpose. Other elements also fell into the nets of these forces. Many of these elements claimed the Palestinian identity of the sacred cause and thus played their roles under its guise. The contradictions and conflicting currents prevailing in the whole world found their way into the ranks of these elements.
It was only natural that Jordan should rise up to confront the impending tragedy. The challenge was faced by the stand of the unique combination of its people: the Muhajireen and the Ansar. This evil subversion was shattered on the rock of the firm national unity, which, born in 1950, grew and flourished amidst the challenges which it had to face during the past twenty years.
The Israeli occupation of the West Bank and other Arab territories dear to us has managed to continue due to the disintegration of the Arab front, the lack of coordination, the struggle to establish opposite axes and camps, the abandonment of the essence of the Palestine cause and its needs, the concentration on talking in the name of the Palestine cause rather than exerting concerted action, in addition to the attempts of certain groups to attain power through internal strife. All this also led to deepen the suffering of the Palestinians and to push them into a state of utter confusion and loss. The talk about municipal elections in the West Bank is merely an example of such a tragedy, which certain quarters are trying to exploit to their interests.
It was thus decided to move on with the state into a new phase based in its essence on liberation, its concept reflecting the aspiration of our people and their sense of belonging to it. In addition to all that, it is based on our absolute determination to regain the legitimate rights of the Palestinians, and it is directed to place them in a position to enable them to regain and safeguard those rights.
This was the pledge we made, to allow our people the right of self-determination. This is now our answer to all those who chose to doubt that pledge and void it from its essence. Today the pledge will find its way to every citizen in this country, to every individual in this nation and to the world. It is now expanding to exceed the limits of words in order to face every possibility of disunity and to embody all national aims and goals.
We wish to declare that the planning for the new phase has come as a result of continuous meetings, discussions and consultations which were held with the representatives and leaders of both Banks. There was unanimous consensus that the main shape of the new phase should include the best and most developed concept of a modern democratic state. In addition to that, it will help to create a new society, built by a new man to forge a driving force which will put us on the way to victory, progress, unity, freedom and a better life.
We are pleased to announce that the basic principles of the proposed new plan are:
I. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan shall become a United Arab Kingdom, and shall be thus named.
2. The United Arab Kingdom shall consist of two regions:
A. The Region of Palestine, and shall consist of the West Bank and any further Palestinian territories to be liberated and whose inhabitants opt to join.
B. The Region of Jordan, and shall consist of the East Bank.
3. Amman shall be the central capital of the Kingdom and at the same time shall be the capital of the Region of Jordan.
4. Jerusalem shall become the capital of the Region of Palestine.
5. The King shall be the Head of the State and shall assume the Central Executive Power, assisted by a Central Council of Ministers. The Central Legislative Power shall be vested in the King and in the National Assembly whose members shall be elected by direct and secret ballot, having an equal number of members from each of the two regions.
6. The Central Judicial Authority shall be vested in a “Supreme Central Court.”
7. The Kingdom shall have a single “Armed Forces” and its “Supreme Commander” shall be the King.
8. The responsibilities of the Central Executive power shall be confined to matters relating to the Kingdom as a sovereign international entity ensuring the safety of the union, its stability and development.
9. The Executive Power in each Region shall be vested in a Governor-General from the Region, and in a Regional Council of Ministers also formed from citizens of the Region.
10. The Legislative Power in each Region shall be vested in a “People’s Council” which shall be elected by direct secret ballot. This Council shall elect the Governor-General.
11. The Judicial Power in each Region shall be vested in the courts of the Region and nobody shall have any authority over it.
12. The Executive Power in each Region shall be responsible for all matters pertinent to it with the exception of such matters as the constitution defines to be the responsibility of the Central Executive Power.
It is obvious that the implementation of this proposed plan will require the necessary constitutional steps and the Parliament shall be asked to draw up the new constitution of the country.
This new phase, which we look forward to, will guarantee the rearrangement of the “Jordan-Palestinian” home in a manner that will ensure for it additional innate strength and thus additional ability to enable us to reach our hopes and aspirations. This plan will strengthen the fabric and sinews that tie both Banks and build up their brotherhood and their unity as it deepens the sense of responsibility in the individual in both Regions of the Kingdom, in order to best serve our cause without prejudice to any of the acquired rights of any citizen of Palestinian origin in the Region of Jordan or any citizen of Jordanian origin in the Region of Palestine. For this proposed plan collects but does not disperse; it strengthens but does not weaken, and it unifies but does not disintegrate. It does not allow any changes to occur to the gains that our citizens have acquired as a result of twenty years of union. Any attempt to cast doubt on all this will be tantamount to treason against the unity of the Kingdom and against the cause, the nation and the homeland. The citizen in our country has suffered such experiences as to achieve a level of awareness and ability which qualifies him to cope with the oncoming responsibilities with greater confidence and determination.
If ability is a bliss which should grow to become man's responsibility towards himself and towards others, if his awareness is a weapon to be used for his own good and that of others, then the time has come for our citizen to stand face to face with his responsibilities, to discharge them with honesty and practise them with courage and honour.
Thus, the above formula becomes a title for a new page, brilliant and confident, in the history of this country. Every citizen has his role and his duties in it. As to the armed forces, which have marched right from the start under the banner of the great Arab Revolt, that included and shall forever include in its ranks the best elements of our sons from both Banks, these armed forces shall always remain ready to receive more of our sons from both Banks, selected on the basis of the highest level of efficiency, ability and organization. They shall always be open to welcome any one who wishes to serve our nation and our cause with absolute loyalty to the eternal goals of our nation.
This Arab country is the country of all Jordanians and Palestinians alike. When we say Palestinians we mean every Palestinian be he in the East or West of this great world on condition that he should be loyal to Palestine and should belong to Palestine. Our call is for every citizen in this country to rise and play his role and shoulder his responsibilities in this new phase; it is also addressed to every Palestinian outside Jordan to answer the call of duty, far from appearances and free from ailments and diversions, and to proceed joining hands with kin and brothers to go ahead on the single path, unity in one front, clear in aims, so that all should cooperate to reach the goals of liberation and to build up the structure to which we all aspire.
Source: Journal of Palestine Studies, vol. I, no 4, Summer 1972.