The History of the All-Palestine Government

The History of the All-Palestine Government 1948-59

The All-Palestine Government was established by the Arab League on 22 September 1948 during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. 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 Gaza Strip. 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. The All-Palestine Government is regarded by some as the first attempt to establish an independent Palestinian state. It was under official Egyptian protection, but it had no executive role.

In 1959, the All-Palestine Government was officially merged into the United Arab Republic, coming under formal Egyptian military administration, who appointed Egyptian military administrators in Gaza. Egypt, however, both formally and informally renounced any and all territorial claims to Palestinian territory (in contrast to the government of Transjordan, which declared its annexation of the Palestinian West Bank).

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Ahmad Hilmi Abdelbaqi Pasha and Mohamed Ali Eltaher (also known by his traditional Arab nickname, Aboul-Hassan) are only to significant names when it comes to the history of this short living state.


When Eltaher’s friend and companion in the long struggle for freedom, Ahmad Hilmi Abdel-Baqi Pasha, was asked by the League of Arab States in 1948 to form an “All-Palestine Government” in Gaza as a last effort to rescue what could be rescued of historic Palestine, Hilmi Pasha issued him Palestinian Passport Nº 1.


He then invited him to join the Cabinet and asked him to choose any Ministry he liked. In 1949 he issued him Palestinian Diplomatic Passport Nº 11.


Eltaher thanked Hilmi Pasha and accepted the passports with pleasure. But he was convinced that nobody would recognize these passports, starting with the Arab League countries which recommended that a Palestinian Government be created in the first place. He apologized for accepting any official government post in the All Palestine Government, even if it were an honorary position, in order not to lose his freedom of action and the freedom to write as he wished.

All-Palestine Government passports are extremely rare to find and you can imagine the diplomatic version is most rare! I saw the standard version a few times (however never got one yet) but the red diplomatic type I spotted only twice in 15+ years.

Further reading…


The History of the All-Palestine Government

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