King Hussein's federation plan

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King Hussein's federation plan (in Arabic: المملكة العربية المتحدة) was a political program proposed by King Hussein of Jordan during a speech to Parliament on March 15, 1972 which aimed to establish a Jordanian-Palestinian federation named the "United Arab Kingdom" on the condition that Israel would concede the control of East Jerusalem to the Jordanian-Palestinian federation so that it would become the capital of its Palestinian federal district. Hussein's proposal was rejected by most of the involved parties soon after it was declared.


On 15 March 1972, King Hussein of Jordan revealed his plan for a "United Arab Kingdom", which would be a federation consisting of two federal districts – The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and a Palestinian federal district which would be located in the West Bank region that was under Jordanian control between 1948 and 1967 and that would have East Jerusalem as its capital. According to the proposal the two districts of the federation would be autonomous, except for the military affairs, foreign affairs and security affairs which would be run by a central government located in Amman.

Nevertheless, King Hussein conditioned the establishment of the UAK in achieving a peace agreement between Israel and Jordan.

Ultimately King Hussein's proposal was ruled out after it was rejected both by Israel and by the PLO and other Arab states that strongly opposed the plan.[1][2][3]



In the eyes of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) the plan's fulfillment would have meant an end to the Palestinian struggle and a denial of their own objectives. Their strong opposition was expressed in a statement issued by the PLO's executive committee, who met immediately after the announcement of the plan:

The people of Palestine alone, and in the necessary atmosphere of freedom, can decide on their own future and the future of their cause....And now the King is revealing himself and his collusion by announcing, though in different words, the birth of this "tiny entity," often bargaining with Israel that he should be a partner in it, in return for concessions in Jerusalem and in the Triangle as regards real sovereignty and, of course, for recognition and peace with Israel, and the creation of a bridge over which it could cross into all parts of the Arab homeland.[4]

The Palestinian National Council went further, calling for the overthrow of King Hussein, "[we must] engage in a struggle to liberate Jordan from the subservient royalist regime which is a mask for the effective Zionist domination of the East Bank and acts as a hired guardian of the Zionist occupation of Palestine".[4]


Israel's response was immediate and negative. On the same day Hussein's announcement was broadcast the spokesman of the Israeli Prime minister, Golda Meir, denied that Israel had any involvement with the plan, describing it as "negating the cause of peace" and that it "creates obstacles on the road to its achievement." The Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan dismissed the announcement as "mere words, which do not open a pathway to any agreement or solution."[4]

The following day Golda Meir made a statement to the Knesset where the plan was debated and a resolution passed.[5] The Knesset resolution rejected the plan, stating that:

the Knesset has duly noted the Prime Minister's statement of March 16, 1972, regarding the speech made by the King of Jordan on March 11, 1972. The Knesset has determined that the historic right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel is beyond challenge.[4]

Arab states[edit]

The reaction from the Arab world to King Hussein's proposal was hostile. Most of the Arab states rejected the idea outright, stating that it had been planned in concert with the United States and Israel to undermine the interests of the Palestinians. They also saw the plan as an attempt by Hussein to sign a unilateral Jordanian peace agreement with Israel, separate from the other Arab states.[4]

Egypt, Syria and Libya were among the harshest critics, Egypt went to the extent of breaking off diplomatic relations with Jordan on April 6, 1972. The President of Iraq, Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, condemned the plan, announcing that "the masses of the Arab world are looking to all of us for unified action against the reactionary plan for surrender to the Zionist enemy".[4] Al-Bakr proposed a Union of Arab Republics instead.

Some Arab states, including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, did not immediately come out against the proposal, but over time its rejection by the Arab world was almost universal.[4]

Further reading[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Kamal Salibi, The Modern History of Jordan (I. B. Tauris, 2006), pp. 251–52
  2. ^ The Milwaukee Journal – Google News Archive Search
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Lukacs, Yehuda (1996). Israel, Jordan, and the peace process. Syracuse University Press. pp. 120–21. ISBN 0815627203.
  5. ^ "Statement to the Knesset by Prime Minister Meir, 16 March 1972:". Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 16 March 1972. Retrieved 4 April 2012.