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All-Palestine Protectorate

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All-Palestine Protectorate
حكومة عموم فلسطين
1948–1959
Flag of Palestine
Gaza Strip after 1950 Armistice.
Gaza Strip after the 1950 Armistice.
Status Partial recognition
Client state of the Kingdom of Egypt and later Republic of Egypt
Capital Jerusalem (claimed)
Gaza City (de facto 1948)
Cairo (de facto 1949-59)
Common languages Palestinian Arabic
Religion Sunni Islam, Christianity
Government Republic
President  
• 1948
Hajj Amin al-Husseini
Prime Minister  
• 1948
Ahmed Hilmi Pasha
Historical era Cold War
• Established
22 September 1948
1949
• Arab League places Gaza Strip under official aegis of Egypt[1]
1952
• Government dissolved (except Prime Minister's post)[2]
1953
1956–1957
• Disestablished
1959
Currency Egyptian pound
ISO 3166 code PS
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Mandatory Palestine
Occupation of the Gaza Strip by Egypt
Today part of  Gaza Strip

The All-Palestine Protectorate, or simply All-Palestine, also known as Gaza Protectorate and Gaza Strip, was a short-living client state with limited recognition, corresponding to the area of the modern Gaza Strip, which was established in area captured by the Kingdom of Egypt during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and allowed to run as a protectorate under the All-Palestine Government. The Protectorate was declared on 22 September 1948 in Gaza City, and the All-Palestine Government was formed. The Prime Minister of the Gaza-seated administration was Ahmed Hilmi Pasha and the President was Hajj Amin al-Husseini, former chairman of the Arab Higher Committee.[3] In December 1948, just three months after the declaration, the All-Palestine Government was relocated to Cairo and was never allowed to return to Gaza, making it a government in exile. With further resolution of the Arab League to put the Gaza Strip under the official protectorate of Egypt in 1952, the All-Palestine Government was gradually stripped of authority. In 1953, the government was nominally dissolved, though the Palestinian Prime Minister Hilmi continued to attend Arab League meetings on its behalf.[2] In 1959, the protectorate was de-jure merged into the United Arab Republic, while de facto turning Gaza into military occupation area of Egypt.

There are differences of opinion as to whether the All-Palestine Protectorate was a mere puppet or façade of the Egyptian occupation, with negligible independent funding or influence, or whether it was a genuine attempt to establish an independent Palestinian state. Though the All-Palestine Government claimed jurisdiction over the whole former British Mandate of Palestine at no time did its effective jurisdiction extend beyond the Gaza Strip, with the West Bank annexed by Transjordan and Israel holding the rest. The All-Palestine Protectorate relied entirely on the Egyptian government for funding and on UNRWA to relieve the plight of the Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip. In reality, during most of its existence the All-Palestine Protectorate was under de facto Egyptian administration, though Egypt never made any claim to or annexed any Palestinian territory. Egypt did not offer the Gazan Palestinians citizenship. Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip and Egypt were issued All-Palestine passports, and were not permitted to move freely into Egypt. However, these passports were only recognized by six Arab countries.

History

The protectorate was established in the Gaza enclave area captured by the Kingdom of Egypt during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. All-Palestine was declared on 22 September 1948 in Gaza City, and the All-Palestine Government was formed. The Prime Minister of the Gaza-seated administration was Ahmed Hilmi Pasha and the President was Hajj Amin al-Husseini, former chairman of the Arab Higher Committee.[3] In December 1948, just three months after the declaration, the All-Palestine Government was relocated to Cairo and was never allowed to return to Gaza, making it a government in exile. With further resolution of the Arab League to put the Gaza Strip under the official protectorate of Egypt in 1952, the All-Palestine Government was gradually stripped of authority. In 1953, the government was nominally dissolved, though the Palestinian Prime Minister Hilmi continued to attend Arab League meetings on its behalf.[2] In 1959, the protectorate was de-jure merged into the United Arab Republic, while de facto turning Gaza into military occupation area of Egypt.

Legal status

Ernest A. Gross, a senior U.S. State Department legal adviser, authored a memorandum for the United States government titled Recognition of New States and Governments in Palestine, dated 11 May 1948. He expressed the view that "The Arab and Jewish communities will be legally entitled on May 15, 1948 (the date of expiry of the British Mandate) to proclaim states and organize governments in the areas of Palestine occupied by the respective communities." Gross also said "the law of nations recognizes an inherent right of people lacking the agencies and institutions of social and political control to organize a state and operate a government."[4]

Though this is a generally accepted principle of international law, Gross' opinion was only internal US government advice. In any event, the British Mandate did expire on 15 May 1948. Other than the Arab Higher Committee, which was re-established in 1945 by the Arab League, the Palestinian Arab community had no government, and no administrative or unified military structure. It relied on the objective declared by the Arab League on 12 April 1948, and the expectation that the Arab armies would prevail over the Palestinian Jewish community. As the war progressed, however, the ineffectiveness of the Committee became obvious.

When it appeared that the Arab forces would not defeat the Israeli forces (and with King Abdullah I of Transjordan taking steps to annex the West Bank), fresh political measures were taken in the form of resurrecting the All-Palestine Government. By the end of the war, however, the Arab Higher Committee had become politically irrelevant.

There are differences of opinion as to whether the All-Palestine Protectorate was a mere puppet or façade of the Egyptian occupation, with negligible independent funding or influence, or whether it was a genuine attempt to establish an independent Palestinian state. Though the All-Palestine Government claimed jurisdiction over the whole former British Mandate of Palestine at no time did its effective jurisdiction extend beyond the Gaza Strip, with the West Bank annexed by Jordan and Israel holding the rest. The All-Palestine Protectorate relied entirely on the Egyptian government for funding and on UNRWA to relieve the plight of the Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip. The All-Palestine Government relocated to Cairo in late 1948, where it became a government in exile and gradually fell apart because of its impotence, four years later becoming a department of the Arab League. It was finally dissolved in 1959 by decree of Nasser.

Foreign relations

The 1948 Arab-Israeli War came to an end with the Israel-Egypt Armistice Agreement of 24 February 1949, which fixed the boundaries of the Gaza Strip.[5] The All-Palestine Government was not a party to the Agreement nor involved in its negotiation.

1948 – Palestinian Passport number 1 – All Palestine Government

In reality, during most of its existence the All-Palestine Protectorate was under de facto Egyptian administration, though Egypt never made any claim to or annexed any Palestinian territory. Egypt did not offer the Gazan Palestinians citizenship. Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip and Egypt were issued All-Palestine passports, and were not permitted to move freely into Egypt. However, these passports were only recognized by six Arab countries. The passports ceased to be issued when the All-Palestine Government was dissolved, though some countries continued to recognize them for some time.

Government and politics

Government

The All-Palestine Government was established by the Arab League on 22 September 1948 during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War to govern the All-Palestine protectorate. It was soon recognized by all Arab League members except Transjordan. Though jurisdiction of the Government was declared to cover the whole of the former Mandatory Palestine, its effective jurisdiction was limited to the All-Palestine Protectorate (Gaza Strip).[6] The Prime Minister of the Gaza-seated administration was Ahmed Hilmi Pasha, and the President was Hajj Amin al-Husseini, former chairman of the Arab Higher Committee.[3]

National Council

The All-Palestine National Council was convened in Gaza on 30 September 1948 under the chairmanship of Amin al-Husayni. The council passed a series of resolutions culminating on 1 October 1948 with a declaration of independence over the whole of Palestine, with Jerusalem as its capital.[7] Although the new government claimed jurisdiction over the whole of Palestine, it had no administration, no civil service, no money, and no real army of its own. It formally adopted the Flag of the Arab Revolt that had been used by Arab nationalists since 1917 and revived the Holy War Army with the declared aim of liberating Palestine.

Legislative Council

In 1957, the Basic Law of Gaza established a Legislative Council that could pass laws which were given to the High Administrator-General for approval.[8]

Military

The All-Palestine Government revived the Holy War Army with the declared aim of "liberating Palestine". The Army, however, has never actually recovered the defeat of the 1948 War and was in fact a collection of Palestinian fedayeen militias.

Geography

The Gaza Strip was the only area of the former British Mandate territory that was under the nominal control of the All-Palestine Government. The rest of the British Mandate territory became either part of Israel or the West Bank, annexed by Transjordan (a move that was not recognized internationally, except by UK).

See also

References

  1. ^ Kumaraswamy, P.R. The A to Z of the Arab-Israeli Conflict. 2009. p15.
  2. ^ a b c Middle East Record Volume 1 - pg.128
  3. ^ a b c Spencer C. Tucker, Priscilla Mary Roberts. The Encyclopedia of the Arab-Israeli Conflict: A Political, Social, and Military History: A Political, Social, and Military History p 464
  4. ^ The memo is contained in the Foreign Relations of the United States 1948, volume 5, part 2, p 964 and is cited by Stefan Talmon, in Recognition of Governments in International Law (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998), p 36
  5. ^ Egypt Israel Armistice Agreement Archived May 25, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. UN Doc S/1264/Corr.1 23 February 1949
  6. ^ Gelber, Y. Palestine, 1948. Pp. 177-78
  7. ^ Palestine Yearbook of International Law 1987-1988, Vol 4, by Anis F. Kassim, Kluwer Law International (1 June 1988), ISBN 90-411-0341-4, p 294
  8. ^ "From Occupation to Interim Accords", Raja Shehadeh, Kluwer Law International, 1997, pages 77–78; and Historical Overview, A. F. & R. Shehadeh Law Firm [1]

Further reading

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