Anti-Palestinian Discrimination in Jordan Now It's Official
But all indications are that King Abdullah still has not realized the approaching tornado. Instead of embarking on real and meaningful reforms and combating rampant rampant financial and administrative corruption, he has directed his energies against Jordanians of Palestinian origin. The king is already being threatened by the powerful and popular Muslim Brotherhood; he may soon have to face an even bigger threat.
In a daring and unprecedented move, Jordanian politicians, academics, political activists and media figures have sent a letter to King Abdullah urging him to end discrimination against Jordanians of Palestinian origin.
The letter serves as a warning to the monarch that the Palestinian majority in the kingdom would one day revolt against continued oppression and discrimination.
The last time Palestinians challenged the Hashemite royal family was in the late 1960s. Then, the late King Hussein sent his army to crush the revolt, killing thousands of Palestinians in what has since become to be known as Black September.
Although King Abdullah's wife, Queen Rania, is a Palestinian from the West Bank, his attitude towards Palestinians living in his kingdom has not been much different from that of other Arab countries.
In the early 1990s, more than 400,000 Palestinians were expelled from the Gulf in retaliation for the PLO's support of Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. When Kuwait was liberated, many Palestinians who remained in the sheikdom were killed or tortured by angry Kuwaitis.
In Lebanon, thousands of Palestinians have been massacred by Lebanese and Syrians over the past four decades. In addition, the 500,000 Palestinians living in Lebanon have long been subjected to state-sponsored apartheid laws that deny them access to work, education and health services.
Following the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime, many Iraqis also turned against Palestinians, accusing them of siding with the former dictator. Thousands of Palestinians were forced out of Iraq while others were killed or had their homes torched and ransacked.
Palestinians carrying Jordanian passports say that unlike his father, King Abdullah has been doing his utmost to "marginalize" them through a series of laws, royal decrees and security measures.
The king is obviously afraid of the "demographic threat" that the Palestinian population poses. He is also wary of talk about turning Jordan into a Palestinian state -- a move that would, of course, end the royal family's rule of the Hashemite kingdom.
In recent months, demands for reform and democracy in Jordan have been on the rise. Some Jordanians say that the "Arab Spring" has been knocking on the kingdom's door for some time now and that unless King Abdullah wakes up things could get out of control.
But all indications are that the the monarch has still not realized the approaching tornado. Instead of embarking on real and meaningful reforms and combating rampant financial and administrative corruption, King Abdullah has chosen to direct his energies against Jordanians of Palestinian origin.
The letter that was sent to him notes that the Jordanian authorities have been revoking the [Jordanian] citizenship of many Palestinians.
The letter reveals that Jordanians of Palestinian origin suffer from discrimination in many walks of life, including when they are held in prison. Discrimination is also employed against Palestinians when they seek to enroll in Jordanian universities, where priority is given to Jordanians with no Palestinian roots.
The letter also expressed concern over King Abdullah's ongoing effort to limit the number of Palestinians in parliament, adding that such a move would be in violation of the constitution.
"How can public opinion expect fair and just elections when partners [Palestinians] are being dismissed and marginalized?" the authors of the letter wrote to King Abdullah. "The presence of Jordanians of Palestinian origin in some institutions and all universities has become a rare phenomenon."
The king is already being challenged by the powerful and popular Muslim Brotherhood. Unless he improves relations with his Palestinian constituents, King Abdullah will soon have to face an even bigger threat from millions of disgruntled second-class citizens.
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