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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Jordan wants to keep Palestinian Syrian refugees out

Al Arab al Yawm reports that Jordan is considering a "buffer zone" for Palestinian Syrians between Jordan and Syria, so as not to accept them into Jordan proper. This buffer zone would be under UN supervision, and it would be used only for Palestinian Arab refugees from Syria.

Jordan has already taken in some 95,000 Syrian refugees into Jordan proper. But it wants to treat the Palestinian Arabs differently.

Jordan's model is, in fact, Syria.  After the fall of Saddam Hussein, Syria did not accept Palestinian refugees fleeing for their lives from Iraq while allowing hundreds of thousands of other Iraqi refugees to enter Syria. In that case, also, a no-mans land was created between Syria and Iraq where the Palestinians - and only Palestinians - were left to fend for themselves, until UNHCR managed to find countries willing to accept them. This process that took years, and even so many Arabs - including Palestinian Arabs themselves - railed against the resettlement of these refugees.

There are an estimated 480,000 Palestinian Arabs in Syria. So far only a handful have sought refuge in Jordan but Jordan wants to keep them out of the country. They are saying that allowing the Palestinian Arabs to enter Jordan proper would set a "dangerous precedent" for Jordan.

Once upon a time, in the 1960s, Jordan claimed that all Palestinian Arabs were Jordanian and that there was no difference between Jordan and Palestine.

This discrimination against Palestinian Arabs is considered normal for Arab states, and no NGOs condemn this blatant disregard for human rights.

The hypocrisy is clear as day.