Friday, January 06, 2012

Gazans in Jordan: "We are like the living dead"

Al Quds al Arabi has an article about one of the most discriminated groups of Palestinian Arabs - the Gazans of Jordan.

Most of Jordan's Gazans fled there in 1967 because they or their parents didn't want to live under Israeli rule. Unlike the West Bank Palestinians who Jordan naturalized in 1949, these Palestinians from Gaza have been treated as if they don't exist.

There are over 100,000 Gazans in Jordan.

The article talks about Mohammed Khalil Shami, born in Aqaba in 1969, who has never left Jordan in his life. When he returned with his family on vacation in a nearby town, he was stopped at a checkpoint that other Jordanians could sail through. He was held for several hours.

Instructions from Amman on how to treat Gazans at any point in time are arbitrary and secret. In this case, Shami complained about how he could be treated like foreign spies when he has lived in Jordan his whole life?

People of Gazan descent in Jordan have restrictions on land ownership, business ownership and jobs. Some register their businesses under the names of Jordanian friends.

Shami says that Gazans in Jordan are "the living dead."

A pharmacist friend of his complains that pharmacists, among others, cannot get licenses. "We have received education in the best universities in and outside Jordan, our skills are very important but we are just ghosts - the ministries do not give us a license to practice our profession and no one wants to recognize our existence at all."

Others complain about things as simple as getting cell phones, not to mention health benefits. "Is there anything more humiliating than this?"

I had covered the disgraceful plight of Gazans in Jordan in 2010. I ended off asking these questions:

How many times have you read about this "open-air prison?" How many human rights groups have championed the cause of Jordanian Gazans? What op-eds have ever been written, shaming the Hashemite Kingdom on how poorly they treat their Arab brethren? How many flotillas and convoys are being organized to help out the women and children? How many people are working to divest from Jordanian products because of this shameful discrimination?

And the answer:

Zero, zero, zero, zero and zero.

(Related: Jordanian Gazans prove that Arabs don't really care about the "right to return.")

(h/t Arthur)