Deporting Palestinians And Losing Jordanian Citizenship

I absolutely adore the way that the BBC and various other international media outlets are referring to Israel’s decision to banish, cast out, exile Palestinians from the West Bank as “deporting” – instead of calling it what it is. That word conjures up images of illegal immigrants being caught in Arizona and deported to Mexico. It conjures up the thought that they weren’t supposed to be there in the first place; that they are there illegally and thus must be returned to their rightful origin. The only problem here is that in the case of Palestinians, what do Israelis and the international community consider their rightful origin to be?

The order came in to affect Tuesday, about 48 hours after Holocaust Remembrance Day – there’s some irony to that, no? The military order refers to these Palestinians as “infiltrators”. I mean seriously, you have to have some major balls to call people who lived on their own land their entire lives as “infiltrators”. You have to have outrageous guts to kick people out of their own homes and send them off to the desert, especially when consider that so many Israelis are living illegally on settlements that have been built and continue to be built on internationally-recognized stolen land. Actually, guts isn’t the right word here. You just have to have a strong enough military and a I-dont-give-a-damn attitude when it comes to the international community.

Interestingly enough, according to the human rights organization B’tselem, Jordanian women who married West Bank Palestinian men are one of the biggest targets of this law. According to the rights group, the only place for West Bankers to go is either to Gaza or to Jordan. The basic premise is not only to filter out the West Bank but to split up families, where wives and husbands are “deported” with the rest of their families staying behind.

Jordan has yet to take any kind of tangible step in this issue, other than the typical “strongly worded” letter, which I am sure the Israeli government places on a shelf somewhere. And while Jordan, which claims authority on some of the religious sites in Jerusalem, is busy calling Israel a bully, Jerusalem’s mayor says that not enough Palestinian homes are being demolished.

But then again, behind Jordan’s rabble-rousing, one must ask themselves to what extent such vocal opposition by the Jordanian government is an attempt to deflect from serious issues at home: the withdrawal of Jordanian citizenship from Jordanians of Palestinian origin. By now, everyone has either heard, or hopefully read, the Human Rights Report, Stateless Again, and if that report is indicative of anything it is that the situation is incredibly complex and, at best, incoherent. And in typical Jordanian government fashion, no information is given, no public awareness is raised – one’s status as a Jordanian is kept strictly as a surprise upon renewing one’s passport.

No one knows anything, everyone is fearful and cautious, many are avoiding renewing their passports – simply put, no one in Jordan knows anything and the government is strictly to blame for the lack of information. In all probability this is an attempt to keep the whole issue under wraps, but in the process it is has generated a great deal of fear on the street level. Everywhere I go these days it seems one of the biggest issues up for discussion is this one. And once again, the lack of information and forthrightness on the government’s part has left an abyss for rumors to be circulated, increasing the level of fear.

Last week, a friend of mine who hails from the Nabulsi family, whose immediate roots have lied in Salt since the 1800’s – before their was a country called Jordan – was telling me an interesting personal story. My friend’s immediate family carries a yellow card that they use to travel to the west bank every now and then, to visit their grandmother who is the only remaining family they have there and originally hails from Nablus. Now, my friend’s sister is registered as a “murafeq” or “companion” on their mother’s yellow card as she was under 18 when they got one. Recently, his sister, who is now 20 and hasn’t visited the West Bank since she was a child, went to renew her Jordanian passport and was told that she and her mother would need to travel to the West Bank to separate herself from her’s mother’s card and establish her own. She would need to do this within 6 months or her Jordanian passport would be withdrawn.

Imagine learning all this when you go to renew your Jordanian passport? What kind of system is this? What kind of policy is this? A system where no one knows anything and therefore they’re afraid to ask about anything, only to be faced with such a situation where they will lose their citizenship in a matter of months. Imagine the kind of erosion to one’s identity that policy must inflict?

The entire situation is incredibly shameful. These policies are shameful. The excuses provided are shameful. And the results are shameful. The Jordanian government is technically applying the same tactics as the Israelis, and both governments are attempting to call apples oranges, hoping that no one will notice in the process.

I’ll give Israelis credit for one thing over the Jordanian government: at least their being forthright about it.


  • 100% True. Both governments are throwing the ball (Palestinian people) into each other courts. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

  • You lost me at “Imad Mugniyah was a hero”. You should leave posts like this to people who have clean hands.

  • whats sad about this , is the reaction to your article so far, usually your entries generate loads of responses , very few commented simply because there is no information coming from this government , besides saying t the process is messed up we cant say much because the government is acting as if non of this is happening, what are we going to fight over or for when the government takes this stand? if u dont speak then u cant be accused of lying or misconduct.we know that there is a problem but cant really define it can we? I mean if they came out and said we are withdrawing citizenship based on 1,2,3 then the citizens will have something solid to fight for, but acting as if there is no elephant in the room only spreads frustration , fear and paranoia among the citizens,

    a pattern that has become way too common in the conduct of the jordanian govt , a pattern that suggests that the governemtn realizes one thing, its motives , basis and agenda can not be defended out in the public opinion court.

    This pattern has become the norm even when the govt has a case to make, take the martyrdom of the late shareef in afghanistan. the man gave his life to this country and how do we repay him? by denying that he lost his life protecting the rest of us? would not that cross the minds of our next generation of officers who literally are willing to serve the country with their lives? We justify our huge defense budget by saying that its necessary to fight dangers to the country but then claim that we are not actually fighting that war? WTF

    I just came back from covering a story about a woman who has lived in a tent, and i use the terms of living and tent very loosely here , for twenty years, yes she has lived out in the wild alone for 20 years next to a mosque and not a god damn thing has been done about it, not the social services, not the government or the local official or even the locals in the area, coupled with what i just read I simply feel disgusted .

  • In other words, here is yet another case where reporters and Israeli leftists irresponsibly publicize stories without getting their facts straight (as Ha’aretz did with the supposed Vilna Gaon prophecy that Israel was going to build the Third Temple last month, causing days of violent riots). The Arabic press and Arab leaders seize on these stories and uses them as levers to incite violence and hate.

  • Off course this is not knew, from day one, the Jordanian gate keepers have collaborated with this Zionist, racist, terrorist entity and there are enough evidence and documents for people who are interested in this unholy alliance between the colonial settlers Zionist entity and the gate keepers in Jordan.
    Yes, the Palestinians are the weak party in this conflict for several reasons, which I have no time to explain here, but at end of this conflict the Zionist are going to be very upset and tide has begun to take Rout that is not going to be in their favor , for more than 65 years , the colonial settlers state has used everything in their arsenal (massacres, ethnic cleansing, terrorism, targeted execution, demolishing homes. and uprooting and stealing their 500 years olive trees) to defeat the Palestinians but to no avail .
    To all the Zionist colonial settlers out there , I would like to tell you , that Palestinians are not going anywhere and you are not going to defeat them, and they will be here for ever to inherit their ancestral land..

  • I am Jordanian of Palestinian origin living here, and have a concern to address: Should i expect the day might come when i will be kicked out of the only country that i know and love ( Jordan) for no reason what so ever, only for the fact that my parents where born in Palestine. Why are we treated and threatened in such a way, Why do i have to wake up every day in anticipation that i might receive the bad news that my citizenship has been revoked and down graded to a second class citizen. Doesn’t the fact that my family and i have been model citizens , paying our taxes, contributing to the community and economy. For God’s sake , members of our family are buried in this land. What else do we need to do to to prove our patriotism ?

  • I’ve been away for a while now,and I’ve been hearing those stories from a lot of people.i kept thinking that this just happens to like 1/1000000 and maybe there’s only one or 2 cases for all of the country…
    since this issue has reached your blog,something is going bad,REAL BAD!

  • You lost me at “Imad Mugniyah was a hero”

    wtf are you talking about?

    Nas, this segment of the population in both Jordan and the West Bank have become “unwanted” I guess, although Jordan at least gives them the option of joining under the condition that they separate from the West Bank.

    My question then would be whether a system can be put in place where the people who do indeed want to separate from the West Bank can do that via the Palestinian consulate in Jordan.

    I think it should be easy to do, and I can’t imagine the Israelis wanting to hinder the establishing of such a process.

  • The “irony”,if you will, is that now Jordan, at least on the international level, gave Israel the “necessary” cover to pursue this transfer policy.I mean, it would be the ultimate hypocrisy-internationally-to attack the Israeli government for its actions, while the Jordanian government “corrected” the status of some of it’s former citizens.

    You gotta love that,right?

  • @Nas K:

    if u dont speak then u cant be accused of lying or misconduct.we know that there is a problem but cant really define it can we? I mean if they came out and said we are withdrawing citizenship based on 1,2,3 then the citizens will have something solid to fight for, but acting as if there is no elephant in the room only spreads frustration , fear and paranoia among the citizens,

    silence breeds fear.


    Nas, this segment of the population in both Jordan and the West Bank have become “unwanted” I guess, although Jordan at least gives them the option of joining under the condition that they separate from the West Bank.

    Based on the stories I’ve heard and read, and according to what the Human Rights report highlights – the application of withdrawal is arbitrary. My friend’s sister is just one case and one scenario out of many possibilities. I don’t think Jordan is giving them that option that you highlight. They must retain that yellow card and renew it or they risk losing the Jordanian citizenship. Which doesn’t make sense on many levels.

    @mohanned: perhaps, but i don’t think the Israelis are pursuing it with that political cover in mind. i think both sides are playing tug-of-war with the alternative homeland issue and palestinians are the rope.

  • All Israeli orders and measures are meant to achieve Ethnic Cleansing. Ilan Pappe noted more than once that Israel fears the growing number of Palestinians, as it relys on immigration to increase the Israeli population.

    What does one expect from a country founded on teror and injustice? Certainly no morals at all, but for the Jordanian government to actually go further with its “Deny, deny, deny policy” is just pathetic.

    “Red line, Danger, Israel has gone too far..etc”, with no credebility the Jordanian government has assured citizens that whenever its denying than there is definitly something in the making!

    To understand the absence of regulations and justice in Jordan, pay the “Follow-up and Inspection” department a visit; where each employee is free to treat citizens with disgust and issue vague regulation that would eventually lead to withdrawing the Jordanian citizinship without any valid explination…

    Let’s deny, then condemn,then export our goods to Israel, then deliever a warrant, then witness Palestinians being tossed again from their own homes to an unknown destination…but let’s at least be honest and say what Israeli government is considering all the way the long is “the fast reproduction of Palestinians who can multiply in less than 10 years meanwhile Israel would need 40 years to do so…”

  • I think one major aspect is: (playing it safe); hence the “silence” from the ppl.


  • Thank you very much for this.. and thank you for discussing the language- aspect in all of this because it is very significant and reveals a lot……

  • It is our responsibility to raise our voices against this racist collaborating policy that has not gotten us anywhere except shame and few dollars from the American empire.History is not going to forgive us for what we doing and advocating ..
    Toujan Al Faisal was on Aljazeera few weeks ago talking about this issue.

  • Based on the stories I’ve heard and read, and according to what the Human Rights report highlights – the application of withdrawal is arbitrary. My friend’s sister is just one case and one scenario out of many possibilities. I don’t think Jordan is giving them that option that you highlight. They must retain that yellow card and renew it or they risk losing the Jordanian citizenship. Which doesn’t make sense on many levels.

    Sorry, I misunderstood what people had to do in order to keep their Jordanian nationality (they shouldn’t have to do anything though under normal circumstances). And you’re right about it not making sense.

    The only possible reason for the government’s actions is not wanting to end up “stuck” with people who Israel displaces permanently from the West Bank. But then my question becomes, well what if the whole Israeli/Palestinian conflict gets resolved (at least for the west bank), would that mean that people with yellow cards will have to give up their Jordanian citizenship? What if they don’t want to?

  • this should’ve been two posts. Anyway, on the second issue, I blame the Jordanians from Palestinian Origin for being such whimps and not standing up for their rights, especially the rich ones who are ok as long as the cash keeps coming in, so why rock the boat. Rich JFPO (Jordanians from Palestinian Origin) and the ruling elite in Jordan have formed a “coalition of corruption ” and JFPOs are extremely content with the results. You can follow them on twitter and see what they tweet about; everything from the iPad to the environment but never on the most dangerous issue that is taking the country downwards in ALL levels.

    I have to say TBI/ Naseem is becoming an important post/person in steering up serious conversations and informing an ill-informed and silly segment of the society .

  • JFPO…what there is a name now for people from palestinian origin…
    i really can get it,how can we be so close (arabs) and yet so far away!
    there is on people on earth we share more with…yet we have the worst between each other
    my mind is to tired of conspiracy theory thinking…some action would speak much louder than words i suppose

  • كما يقول المثل العربي ØŒ حجه أقبح من دنب ØŒ الاسباب والتفسير القبيح التي قدمته الحكومه الحاليه والحكومات السابقه والمتعاقبه ØŒ ليست اللا سياسه تدل خلق العنصريه والتفرقه ما بين الشعب الواحد، على أكثر مدا عقدين من الزمن، خاصاٍ بعد التوقيع على معاهده الأستسلام المشينه في وادي عربه، والتي طوعت الحكومه بتقديم كل التنازلات لهذا العدو الئيم والمتعجرف ØŒ معاهده وادي عربه سيئت الصيت سوف تتكسر أن شاء الله، وكل أردني عربي شريف يجب أن يعمل على ألغائها وتمزيقها وقدفها في مزابل التاريخ

  • @zaid How can any Jordanian stand up for his rights if people do not support him and only blame? They are standing up and they made it up until human rights watch global. This made the goverement look at least twice into the issue. How can anybody do anything more? Tell me please, do you have any suggestions? IMO, our stupid governmental policies are to blame for this mess. People who can only talk nonsense and throw allegations play a big role as well.

    And by the way, guys who tweet about IPADs and environmental awareness are internet geniuses who’ve had their own success stories. I am sure they have worked their assess off, just to get there. That is instead of draining our tax money and feeding on government resources as a “proud stupid tribe”!

    This is a free world and it will remain so, regardless of anything! Unfollow button is always there as well 🙂 .

    Nas, a very touching post. Top notch as always! 😀

  • @yanal. Good morning . There are many ways to say no ,most effective and popular through history is going to the streets and protesting .
    Rich JFPOs have worked hard to get their money ,I agree, but they don’t want to work at all for their/people’s rights because they are chiken-shits afraid to loose their status.

  • Basel, I don’t see why there shouldn’t be a name for Jordanians of Palestinian origin; I for one believe that acknowledging that each group of society is important – otherwise known as self-awareness; what is problematic is discriminating against any group.

    Plus, let’s be realistic here, I am reminded by this fact when I travel (especially when crossing Syrian or West Bank borders), when your ID is being checked, the cases are endless. I do not have a problem with this, and I reject referring to myself as solely Palestinian, or only Jordanian. Emotions aside; we need to come to terms with this as a population; otherwise we will NEVER develop allegiance and a sense of affiliation, two ingredients necessary for citizenship.

    Nas, the first part of your post is definitely fucked up; no one can argue there, and that doesn;t solve anything. It really sucks that we’ve come this low; every Palestinian and Arab is to be blamed for this, but I really don’t expect anything to happen. Like our leaders, all we can do is sit, masturbate, write, feel like shit and complain about it, but much ado about nothing…

    I find the other part is very idealistic to say the least. I know I’m going to come off as a douchebag – I probably already did! 🙂 but I think it’s unrealistic for the Jordanian government to explictly and bluntly state its policies when it comes to citizenship; and by the way, this issue has been going on for ages now, nothing new at all. I believe that such arbitrary policies are further fueling the divide between Jordanians and anything that isn’t of Jordanian origin. The whole Jordanian/Palestinian discourse in Jordan is similar to the Christian/Muslim discourse in Lebanon and just needs a firestarter to cook up one big internal “issue”. (Or at least we are alluded to believe so). Is it shitty of our government? Sure is. Is there something we can do about it? Depends on how you feel about Jordan really; because from what I gather, this is really my queue to leave! Are Jordanians of Palestinian origin to be blamed for as well? Hell yeah! Like you said, silence is a killer!

    The long-term issue, however, and what our government fails to see, is that it creates a dangerous mindset (very similar to which is deeply ingrained in the Gulf – and the post 9/11 era in America), which involves entitlement and general closed-mindedness: Our government has been shutting off all facets of diversity, from the way it dealt with the influx of Iraqis, the fact that Christians are still second-class citizens to the way we deal with Bahaais and generally anything that isn’t Jordanian and Sunni. This mindset will eventually engage in an incest fuckfest where you need to prove that you are “more Jordanian” than anybody else. What a nice episode that will be.

    Another by product of such practices, also something our culture in entrenched in, is entitlement. The fact that a portion of soceity needs to actually work, so that another portion doesn’t have to (and that portion is usually a liability on the country’s shoulders) is really problematic. It’s there, and for a while it actually worked – it served as a strong motivator for Jordanians of Palestinian origin to work their asses off! but it’s not sustainable, and it won’t last for long.

  • Thank you for this. Again thank you. Noone seems to understand the horrible consequences these policies can have on the citizen’s life. noone can imagine the endless questions and endless wonders that a Jordanian of a Palestinian origin can have, it is the most complicated dilemma and I mean it, it is the worst of all, to have doubts about something this important : your idenity, to read about revoking citizenship and wonder what can happen to you, if today you introduce yourself as Jordanian and you feel allegiance, what will you say tomorrow if your citizenship is revoked?
    if you call Jordan home in a very spontaneous way, what can you call it if your national number is in peril? the people who are supporting these policies seem to ignore the fact that these policies are harmful to Jordan also, because you’re alienating a considerable percentage of people who are willing to work for Jordan’s development and turning their love for the country into hatred and bigotry if you keep on denying them their constitutional rights and keep on insisting they are inferior.
    this is not to generalize, but it shows a very very awful part of the story, but I will keep on saying I am Jordanian, Jordanian of a Palestinian origin but I am still Jordanian.
    Again, thank you for bringing this up with this couargeous manner, I hope noone will file a suitcase against you, as you may be conspiring with Israelis to implement the “watan badeel”. enough is enough.

  • I wish you could write the same post in arabic somewhere where a larger audience can get the message, I know you already wrote an article about revoking citizenship from economic perspectives in al Sijjil and I really liked it, but I mean if you could write more often in Arabic, this is very important and sheds the light on a very important part. A larger number of people have to read this, so that we can really achieve something. I am really touched that I keep coming back to leave comments

  • @p because one day…a long time ago…we were Arabs,and that was more then fine….
    finding names creates the discrimination Ur talking about…

  • ….and whilst ethnic cleansing is met with minimal media coverage, this is met with none:

    no words from the JO gov yet on the citizenship issue?
    I think your argument about the “corrections” being arbitrary is spot on.

    Also, the gerrymandering of districts in Jordan is strongly correlated to over-representation of some Jordanians and the exclusion of others, both across ethnic lines as well as a rural/urban divide. When, or if, a new election law ever comes out, I doubt the government will be this keen to “correct the status” of that. maybe we can call that selective “correction” too?

    “correction” should never be arbitrary, selective or inhumane. that deems the “correction” potential void.

Your Two Piasters: