Thursday, January 21, 2021



Generally when people speak about Palestinians in Jordan, they think about the majority who have full Jordanian citizenship. 

They are still treated as not real Jordanians, and the native Jordanians regard them as people who will leave one day to live across the river. But they do have all of the benefits of citizenship.

However, there are a lot of Palestinians in Jordan who have no citizenship, no health benefits, and very few human rights. They are mostly the Palestinians who came from Gaza after the 1967 war.

Although UNRWA counts them as "Palestine refugees," they are not refugees by any measure. They came over voluntarily, well after the Six Day War, because they didn't want to live under Jewish rule. This New York Times article from November 7, 1967 says that even then, hundreds of Palestinian Arabs who couldn't leave Gaza under Egyptian rule were crossing into Jordan every day, and the reporter could not find one of them who said that the Israelis mistreated them. 

How many are there? According to UNRWA, there are 158,000 - about 7%. But a census done in 2016 counted an astonishing 634,000 Palestinians who do not have national ID numbers.

This means that they are barred from the majority of positions in the public sector. 
They are banned from many professions such as dentistry, engineering and law.  
They need special work permits to obtain jobs in the private sector.
They have limited property rights.  Up until recently, they could not own land at all. 
They have limited or no services from the Jordanian National Aid Fund. 
They cannot attend state universities or are forced to pay much higher fees than citizens. 
They are ineligible for government health insurance, which means that any major medical procedure keeps them in poverty. 
Even the ones born in Jordan are not eligible to become citizens.

There are more stateless Palestinians in Jordan today than there were Arabs who fled Israel in the 1948 "nakba."

Yet who even knows about this huge group of people? Who talks about them? Why is there such a discrepancy between UNRWA's estimates and Jordan's census in even counting them?

This is real apartheid against some 28% of the Palestinians in Jordan. Human rights groups are mostly silent. 

And no one calls this "apartheid."







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