Academic journal article Journal of Politics and Law

The Education System in East Jerusalem during the Period of Jordanian Rule, 1948-1967

Academic journal article Journal of Politics and Law

The Education System in East Jerusalem during the Period of Jordanian Rule, 1948-1967

Article excerpt


The article below deals with the Arab educational system in East Jerusalem during the period of Jordanian rule, 1948-1967. Its main aim is to examine the attempts and efforts of the Jordanian government promote a new sense of identity among the Palestinians residing in Jerusalem in order to strengthen their loyalty to the Hashemite regime that had annexed the West Bank and turned it into an inseparable part of the Kingdom of Jordan. The article shows how the educational system was inducted for the purpose of constructing this new identity through a comprehensive change in study programs and textbooks. However, in spite of this, these efforts failed and Palestinian identity was preserved and even strengthened.

Keywords: East Jerusalem, Jordan, Palestinians Education System, Palestinian Nationality, Palestinian Identity West Bank, West Jerusalem

1. Introduction

At the end of the war in 1948, the city of Jerusalem was transfonned from a united city into a city divided into two parts, one Israeli and the other Jordanian. This was done despite the decision of the UN General Assembly of November 29, 1947, that the city and its surrounding enclaves were supposed to be an international area. In an additional decision of December 10, 1949, the UN General Assembly again called for the internationalization of the city. But both of these decisions were strongly rejected by the State of Israel and also by the Jordanians, and the city remained divided. Its division into two parts. East and West Jerusalem, caused serious damage and turned it into a marginal and fractured border city. With the aim of strengthening its political status as the capital of Israel, the Israeli government decided in December 1949 to relocate the Knesset to Jerusalem. This was followed by the transfer of most of the government ministries that had until then been located in Tel Aviv. These steps, and other economic and social ones, contributed to the establishment of Jerusalem as the capital city, and this status was gradually reinforced over time, leading to the growth and florescence of the western Israeli controlled part of the city in all spheres.

It is interesting that in the eastern part of the city, which had been annexed by the Jordanians as well as all the other areas of the West Bank, the situation was entirely different. This part was forced to cope with the new and difficult realities it had not known before. The connection with the western Israeli part was broken off, and the historical connection with the port of Jaffa and the coastal cities also ceased to exist. Arab Jerusalem lost a large section of its population that had once lived in the western neighborhoods of Talbieh, Bak'a and Katamon. These neighborhoods had been populated by a middle and high class society, and the damage caused to them had a detrimental effect on the economy of the city. Thus, contrary to the process of florescence and the Israeli policy of establishment and reinforcement, the very opposite occurred in the eastern part of the city, a process of decline and paralysis. The main attention of the Jordanians was focused upon their capital city, Aimnan, and most of the economic investments and development projects were concentrated in the eastern part of the kingdom. It should be noted that the resources of Jordan in those days were extremely limited, and the economy of the kingdom was based on the external support of a few Western and Arab states.

It is also interesting that these changes affected education as well. This was one of the important issues that greatly concerned the Jordanians after the annexation of Jerusalem and the West Bank. Their desire and especially that of King Abdullah, who aspired to fonn a single Palestinian-Jordanian identity, was very strong. The hope was to fonn a new identity that would include the populations of both banks and turn them into one people. This was meant to fulfill the dreams of Abdullah to extend the borders of his kingdom and to annex the lands that were richer both in natural and human resources. …

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