Jordan, Dr. Peace and Mr. Apartheid
By MUDAR ZAHRAN
The world must tell Jordan that peace and integration of its own Palestinians are not privileges it is giving away.
Last January, Faisal al-Fayez, a Jordanian senator and former prime minister,
threatened Israel on national Jordanian television with “6 million Jordanian
suicide bombers.” Fayez is considered one of the closest Jordanian officials to
King Abdullah II; he is also a leader of the Bani Sakher tribe which has
historically dominated the most important positions in the Hashemite
Another member of the tribe, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior
Minister Nayef al-Qadi, defended an official policy of stripping Jordanians of
Palestinian heritage of their citizenship, a policy that has resulted in the
denaturalization of more than 2,700 so far according to a recent report by Human
Rights Watch. In an interview with a London-based Arab newspaper, Qadi said that
“Jordan should be thanked for standing up against Israeli ambitions of unloading
of the Palestinian land of its people” which he described as “the secret Israeli
aim to impose a solution of Palestinian refugees at the expense of
Furthermore, King Abdullah, in a clear gesture of carelessness
to Israel, has extended his condolences to the family and followers of
Hussein Fadallah, Hizbullah’s spiritual leader who passed away
THE CAUSES of Jordan’s recent line of official hostility toward
Israel are deep-rooted in the makeup of the Jordanian state itself.
Jordan is a
country with a Palestinian majority which allows them little or no
in any political or executive bodies or parliament.
This lack of
political and legislative representation of Jordanians of Palestinian
has been enforced by decades of systematic exclusion in all aspects of
expanding into their disenfranchisement in education, employment,
benefits and even business potential, all developing into an existing
no different than that formerly adopted in South Africa, except for the
acknowledgement of it.
The well-established apartheid system has created
substantial advantages for East Bankers who dominate all senior
military jobs, along with tight control of security agencies,
influential Jordanian General Intelligence Department, all resulting in
Jordanians gaining superiority over their fellow citizens of Palestinian
The fact that East Bankers have done very well under the
current situation provides motive for Jordanian officials to maintain
quo and work on extending it; especially as the helpless Palestinian
has no say and very little it can do against such conditions.
Bankers’ desire to keep their privileges has gone unchallenged until
years, when the international community mentoring the peace process has
into its dynamics one of Jordan’s most critical commitments of the peace
with Israel, by which Jordan is obligated to negotiate the conditions of
displaced individuals from both sides.
When Jordanians of Palestinian
heritage moved to Jordan in 1967, they were Jordanian citizens legally
relocating inside their own country as Jordan had declared the West Bank
of the Hashemite kingdom 19 years earlier. Therefore, the Palestinians’
Jordan was similar to an American’s move from New York to New
This fact was hard to absorb by the Jordanian government, as it
dictates that citizens of Palestinian heritage are equal to them in
therefore entitled to political representation.
Such concept would have
shaken the privileged ruling elite and has been confronted by a dramatic
radical nationalism among East Bankers and extensive support of the
policies of the government that pushes Palestinians to believe they
return to “Palestine” as their home country.
Since 2008, East Bankers
have been embracing hostility toward Israel with dedication to
Palestine” as an excuse to further exclude the Jordanians of Palestinian
heritage with calls for a universal denaturalization to put pressure on
Such calls have been emphasized and publicized by the media, which are
controlled by Jordanian intelligence.
The radical nationalists went as
far as aligning themselves with Islamists to defend their cause, as both
for turning Jordanians of Palestinian heritage into refugees rather than
The anti-Palestinian/anti-Israeli conservative nationalist
political salons in Amman have been calling for threatening Israel with
they describe as the Palestinian demographic bomb by sending the
The Jordanian state seems to subscribe to this idea through
sustaining the on-going process of striping Palestinians in Jordan of
citizenships. Although it has been done to a few thousand, it is viewed
victory for radical nationalists. This trend poses a serious threat to
stability and Israeli national security.
Jordan cannot maintain its
apartheid policies. The international community must make it clear to
that both peace and integration of its own citizens are not privileges
giving away to Israel or any other country.
The writer is a researcher at
the University of Bedfordshire.