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Monday, September 10, 2007

Jordan's apartheid citizenship law

As my continuing series on Palestinian Arab history has shown, Jordan has been unique among Arab countries in extending full citizenship to all "Palestinians."

But how exactly do they define "Palestinian?" After all, the Jews of Palestine before the 1948 war were certainly as "Palestinian" as the Arabs were, and were in fact considered more Palestinian at the time. So how could Jordan create a citizenship law for only the Palestinians they wanted and not the ones they didn't?

It turns out that Jordan managed to get around that problem in their Law No. 6 of 1954 on Nationality:

"Any person who, not being Jewish, possessed Palestinian nationality before 15 May 1948 and was a regular resident in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan between 20 December 1949 and 16 February 1954;"

Even though Transjordan expelled every single Jew from its illegally annexed territory in 1948-9, just in case there were a few left they enshrined into law that even those Palestinian Jews could never become citizens of Jordan.

The law has been revised since then, as recently as 1987, but the "not being Jewish" line is still a part of Jordanian law today.

For the human rights junkies out there, this entails multiple violations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966.