Academic journal article The Middle East Journal

Jordan-King Abdullah and Palestine: A Territorial Ambition

Academic journal article The Middle East Journal

Jordan-King Abdullah and Palestine: A Territorial Ambition

Article excerpt

King Abdullah and Palestine: A Territorial Ambition, by Joseph Nevo. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1996. xiv + 209 pages. Notes to p. 236. Bibl. to p. 248. Index to p. 259. $65.

Reviewed by Peter Gubser

Joseph Nevo has written a competent history of Jordan's first three decades (from 1921 through the 1940s), but aspects of it are distinctly problematic. Basing his research on a wide variety of sources in Arabic, English and Hebrew, the author covers quite adequately the known material on Jordan for that period. The beginning of the narrative is well known. Amir `Abdullah Ibn Husayn arrived in Transjordan in 1921 with the stated desire of continuing on to Damascus to claim Syria for the Hashemites. However, in Amman he encountered the British, who created the "Amirate of Transjordan" for him under the British Mandate (1921-46). In exchange for a subsidy, Amir `Abdullah was to forgo his Syrian ambitions.

Nevo contends that, throughout his rule, Amir `Abdullah was driven by his ambition to increase the size of his amirate, whether to the east, north or west. Because there were greater possibilities to the west, in Palestine, he concentrated upon them. What follows is a detailed narrative of Amir `Abdullah's relations with the British, the Zionists, leading Palestinian families such as the Husaynis and the Nashashibis, and other Arab governments. …

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