A Short Introduction To The Philately Of Palestine

The Occupation 1948--1967

The General Situation (1948--1967)

On 14.05.1948 zionist settlers proclaim the state of Israel. Acts of terror during this period (e.g. massacre of Deir Yassin on 9.04.1948) provoke stampedes among civilians: between 700,000 and one million Palestinians, Muslims and Christians, flee or are expelled from their villages.

In reaction to the UN resolution being broken by the unilateral declaration of statehood and in order to protect the civilian population several Arab nations dispatch troops into Palestine. These form the "Arab Legion", consisting of military units from Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. The troops are not well trained nor adequately equipped and their military campaigns are coordinated in an insufficient way.

Attempts by the UN to mediate fail initially. The UN representative, Count Bernadotte, is murdered by zionist terrorists on 17.09.1948. His successor is Ralph Bunche. A cease-fire is finally reached on 7.01.1949, formal bilateral armistice agreements are signed between 24.02.1949 and 20.07.1949 . The agreed cease-fire lines act as lines of demarcation between Jews and Arabs until 1967. The so called "Westbank" stays (after withdrawal of other Arab troops) under Transjordanian control, the "Gaza Strip" is occupied by Egypt.

This Phase is known in history as an-Nakbah, "The Catastrophe". It describes, besides the loss of land and hope for sovereignty, the million Palestinians expelled from their homes and their fate.

The Westbank is eventually incorporated into the Transjordan state. The so-called "Jericho Conference" of December 1948, at which only forces friendly to Transjordan participated, encourages the annexation. The military administration ends formally on 14.03.1949, and by 16.11.1949 the state calls itself "Jordan". The new constitution of 1952 concludes the process of annexation.

In administrative terms the Westbank is divided into three provinces (Livah) with districts (Qadah) and sub-districts (Nahiyah). At a later stage (1964) a four-layer system is instituted with three governing provinces (Mukhafatah) at the top.

The currency used in Transjordan and Palestine since 1927 was the Palestinian Pound (1 £P equals 1000 Mils). A new currency was issued on 1.10.1950: the Jordanian Dinar (1 J.D. equals 1000 Fils). It remained tied to the British Pound Sterling, as was the Palestinian Pound.

In contrast to the annexation of the West Bank into Jordan, the Gaza-Strip remains under Egyptian military occupation and later civilian administration.

During the Suez crisis Israeli troops conquer the Gaza-Strip (29.10.1956) and advance onto the Sinai. French and British troops occupy the Suez Canal, but have to withdraw after diplomatic interventions from the USA and the Soviet Union. Egypt regains control of the Sinai and the Gaza-Strip by 7.03.1957.

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[Created 4.06.2004, last revised 25.06.2004]
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