Jordan Revoking Palestinian IDs

Jordan has begun revoking the citizenship of thousands of Palestinians. Officials say it is intended to head off any Israeli plan to expel Arabs.

Nissan Ratzlav-Katz , | updated: 4:00 PM

Queen Rania, a Palestinian-Jordanian
Queen Rania, a Palestinian-Jordanian
Israel news photo: (file)

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has begun revoking the Jordanian citizenship of those people defined by officials as Palestinians with roots in Judea and Samaria. The new policy robs thousands of residents of the kingdom of civil services, but Jordanian officials say it is intended to head off any Israeli plan to expel Arabs.

The new regulations reverse a decision extending Jordanian citizenship to former residents of Judea and Samaria, on the western side of the Jordan River, after the Hashemite Kingdom formally severed all administrative and legal ties with the regions in 1988. Those Jordanian citizens who have their national ID revoked are allowed to stay on as Palestinian foreign residents, if they obtain special yellow ID cards. However, yellow ID cards are also being revoked in cases in which the card-holder did not visit Judea and Samaria for dozens of years, leading to Israel declaring the individual a non-resident.

Those without a yellow ID become green card holders, with no native status in Jordan whatsoever. The immediate effect of such a change is the loss of rights to such services as state education and health insurance.

Jordan Interior Minister Nayef al-Kadi told the London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat that Jordanian citizenships are not being revoked. "We are only correcting the mistake that was created after Jordan's disengagement from the West Bank," he explained. "We want to highlight the true identity and nationality of every person." However, over 70 percent of the Jordanian people are self-defined as Palestinian.

Jordan ruled Judea and Samaria from 1948 until 1967, when Israel conquered the region. During the 19 years of Jordanian jurisdiction, the Arabs there held Jordanian citizenship, with no moves made to establish a Palestinian sovereignty in any
It was not revealed how the new policy decision would effect Jordan's Queen Rania.
part of the territories. The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) charter current at the time explicitly rejected any and all Palestinian claims in Jordanian territory on the eastern side of the Jordan River.

"The main reason behind the loss of nationality is due to the negligence of Palestinians and their failure to have concern for their Palestinian Identity; they indifferently stopped visiting the West Bank for years which encouraged the Israelis to cancel their ID cards," according to an official in Jordan's civil administration quoted in Jordan's The Star newspaper. He added, "They can follow-up and try to gain back their papers from the Israeli government..."

Al-Kadi, however, said, "Our goal is to prevent Israel from emptying the Palestinian territories of their original inhabitants. We should be thanked for taking this measure." He declared that "Jordan is not Palestine, just as Palestine is not Jordan."

It was not revealed how the new policy decision would effect Jordan's Queen Rania al-Yassin, whose parents both come from Tulkarem, in Samaria.