Jordan to revoke citizenship of senior PA officials

Jordan's King Abdullah makes a point to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on a visit to Ramallah last October. (Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JWN and agencies)—Jordan intends to revoke its citizenship from senior Palestinian Authority and PLO officials, according to a report in the Saudi newspaper Al-Madina.

It is not clear what is behind the move or whether it will also affect PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, at the top of the Palestinian leadership, or whether it is the beginning of a larger move against approximately half of Jordan’s 6 million population who are of Palestinian origin.

The report said PA leaders would be granted temporary Jordanian passports to enable them to travel abroad.

The move follows the recent passage of a law that limits Palestinian representation in parliament and reflects attempts by the previous monarch, King Hussein, to divorce the Hashemite kingdom from the West Bank. Hussein severed all ties in 1988, except with regard to Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.

Perhaps disingenuously, Hussein said at the time that stripping Palestinians of Jordanian citizenship would facilitate their establishing their own state. He explained that it would result in “preserving the Palestinians’ national identity and paving the way for their return to Palestine.”

Jordan’s Interior Minister Mohammed Al-Raud is expected to visit Ramallah soon to inform the Palestinian leadership of the decision, the report added.

Another topic likely to be discussed is the more than 1,100 Palestinian refugees who have fled the violence in Syria and who are stranded in no-man’s-land along the Syrian border, because the Jordanians have refused to admit them to the kingdom. Nearly half a million Palestinians live in Syria.

In contrast, some 100,000 Syrian refugees have been allowed to take shelter in Jordan.

“The Jordanian minister will tell the Palestinian president that he can’t in any way receive the refugees,” the sources told the paper. “He will also inform Abbas that the Jordanian authorities are thinking of establishing a buffer zone along the border with Syria where the refugees could stay.”