Members of the Palestinian National Assembly held a meeting in Amman last month to examine the so-called “Geneva Agreement”, which many consider to be a violation of national Palestinian unity and an erosion of the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian population.

In a public statement issued after their meeting the delegates warned that the Geneva initiative greatly undermines the fundamental principles of the Palestinian cause which are guaranteed by decisions of the National Palestinian Assembly and the Central Palestinian Assembly.

These agreements are based on legitimate international agreements, and in particular Resolution 194 of 1948 concerning Palestinian refugees, asserting their right to return to the homes from which they were displaced.

The members of the Assembly insisted that the right of return is an individual and collective right which lies at the very heart of the Palestinian question. It cannot be traded with or altered by any one party.

More than a third of the Palestinian population have been forced, for decades, to live in exile in extremely difficult conditions while Jews of all races and nationalities have been able to enter historic Palestine at any time and live on its land. In their press release the Assembly members affirmed their total rejection of the Geneva Agreement and its attempt to destroy Palestinian national unity.

They condemned the authors of the Agreement and urged them to reconsider their position. Additionally, the release emphasized the importance of exposing and opposing such initiatives and of making the Palestinian population aware of the dangers they pose to Palestinian unity and rights, and, in particular, the fundamental right of return.

Source: Mounir ‘Aql - Amman


Palestinian refugees in Jordan
Oroub Al Abed

1.1 Map
3.1 Historical background
1948 war
1967 war (El-Nakseh)
1970 civil war
1988 severance of legal and administrative ties
3.2 Categories
3.3 UNRWA and the camps
3.4 The Department of Palestinian Affairs (DPA)
3.5 Society
3.6 Legal rights
3.7 Right to education
3.8 Right to employment
3.9 Ownership
3.10 Conclusion
4. OTHER Resources
4.1 Non-electronic resources and bibliography

1. Basic information
Official name: Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
Capital: Amman (population 1.9 million – 38% of total population)
Estimated population: 5.16 million (
CIA World Factbook -
Jordanian embassy -
1.1 Map

2. Summary
Jordan is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north-west, Syria to the south, Iraq to the south-west, and Israel/Palestine to the east. It has access to the Red Sea via the port city of Aqaba, located at the northern end of the Gulf of Aqaba (

Following the 1948 Arab–Israeli war approximately 900,000 Palestinian refugees were forced to flee their towns, villages, and homes. The vast majority fled to neighbouring Arab countries, including Jordan, which in 1950 had formally annexed the West Bank, where many refugees sought shelter. Another wave of Palestinian refugees fled to Jordan as a consequence of the 1967 war, when Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza along with other Arab territories. The annexation of the West Bank and the refugee flows into Jordan transformed its demographic structure, tipping the balance in favour of a Palestinian majority. Today, Palestinians in Jordan, most of whom were granted citizenship in the early 1950s, represent over half of the Jordanian population. Beyond the demographic factor, the influx of refugees into Jordan reshaped its political, socio-economic, and cultural life. The government had to adapt its policies to accommodate the new population. The British grants-in-aid contributions before the war (and from the USA after the 1960s) enabled Jordan to create its infrastructure. Furthermore, the capital brought in by the well-off Palestinians who invested in the private sector and in housing, managed to set the bases for the urban centres that were created or developed in the years to follow.

Most of the refugees – at least officially – have equal civil rights as Jordanian citizens. However, Jordanian citizenship has not cancelled the Palestinian right of return or their status as refugees.

Jordanian Embassy -

3. Palestinian refugees in Jordan 
1948 war

When the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) passed Resolution 181, known as the Partition Plan, in November 1947, aimed at creating a larger Jewish state to accommodate the Jewish minority at the expense of two-thirds of the Palestinian population, conflict in Palestine spread. However, the Zionist-Jewish paramilitary organizations, mainly the Haganah, were far more prepared and equipped than the Palestinians and were able to declare the establishment of the Jewish State on 15 May 1948. In September 1948, the Arab League Council approved the creation of a Palestine government and adopted a resolution to that effect. In that meeting all the Arab governments voted in favour of a Palestinian government except Transjordan (Tannous 1988: 659). In order to legalize the annexation of the West Bank to Transjordan, King Abdullah called for a conference to be held on 1 December 1948 in Jericho. The meeting included Palestinian deputies appointed by the king to speak on his behalf and therefore ‘those who attended the conference could not be called the representatives of the people of Palestine by any standard of national electoral representation (Tannous 1988: 665) As a result of the conference, a resolution was adopted according King Abdullah sovereignty over Palestine, but which also ‘urged the return of all the Palestinian refugees to their homes and properties and to receive compensation for all losses sustained’ (Tannous 1988: 666). Consequent to the annexation of the Palestinian West Bank, Transjordan became the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

According to the Jordanian Citizenship Law, Palestinians were granted Jordanian Citizenship. Article 3 of the 1954 law states that a Jordanian national is: ‘Any person with previous Palestinian nationality except the Jews before the date of May 15, 1948 residing in the Kingdom during the period from December 20, 1949 and February 16, 1954.’ Thus Palestinians in the East Bank and the West Bank of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan were granted Jordanian nationality. 

There are no reliable figures as to the exact number of Palestinians in Jordan, especially since many Palestinians who move between the West and the East Bank of the Jordan river are not systematically registered. The most reliable data is on refugees who registered with UNRWA following the 1948 war. According to the UNRWA fact sheet for the year 2002 (December), the figure is 1698,271 (

Arab Gateway - Resource Center - (assistance and protection)
Bartleby World History Encyclopedia -
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan -
Palestine Facts - - -

1967 war (El-Nakseh)
During the 1967 War Israel occupied the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, and the Sinai Peninsula. A new wave of Palestinians, particularly those residing in refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza, were forced to flee yet again from what was left of historical Palestine. They sought shelter in countries such as Jordan, Syria, and Egypt. They were classified as ‘displaced persons’. In the UN General Assembly Resolution 2252 (ES-V) of 4 July 1967, ‘displaced persons’ were defined as those ‘who have been unable to return to the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967’. Initially, Jordan did not register Palestinian displaced in 1967, because, according to the government, they simply moved from one part of Jordan to another, i.e. from the West to the East Bank of Jordan. However, in the 1970s, the Jordanian Ministry of Occupied Territories/Registry of Displaced Persons called people to register, and 240,000 displaced persons followed the call (Article 74 1995: 3) of which 177,165 were registered with UNRWA, in other words, they were uprooted twice (Article 74 1994: 2).

In addition to the West Bankers, in 1967 many of the original inhabitants and camp dwellers from Gaza also sought shelter in Jordan. The Gaza Strip had been placed under the administrative rule of Egypt upon the signing of the 1949 Rhodes Armistice. During the period between 1949 and 1967, the Egyptian administration retained most of the basic legislation that was inherited from the Ottoman and the Mandate periods, including the Palestinian Citizenship Order of 1925 (Kassim 1987). Gazans were issued with Egyptian travel documents that were supposed to help them in their travel to and from the Strip. Many Gazan refugees had to remain in Jordan following the 1967 war, mainly because they could not go to Egypt due to Israeli attacks on the Sinai Peninsula. Unlike Palestinians who came from the West Bank, Gazans did not have Jordanian citizenship - with the exception of few families who had political connections and were able through royal decree to obtain Jordanian citizenship. A large number of refugees from Gaza sought shelter in Jerash and Hitteen refugee camps. 
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan - -
World Rover -

1970 civil war
In March 1968, an Israeli brigade attacked the Jordanian village of Al Karamah, under the pretext that it was the base of a growing Palestinian Resistance Movement. Although this was by no means a military victory for the Palestinians, the Israeli army suffered substantial losses. The incident boosted Palestinian morale and gave the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) instant popularity within the Arab world. In February 1969 Arafat became head of the PLO and by early 1970, at least seven Palestinian political organizations could be identified in Jordan. The threat to Hussein’s authority and the heavy Israeli reprisals against Jordan that followed each guerrilla attack became a matter of serious concern to the King. A major guerrilla–government confrontation occurred when the government sought to disarm the refugee camps, but civil war was averted by a compromise that favoured the Palestinians. Jordan’s government felt threatened by the presence of an organized Palestinian Resistance Movement. Indeed, Palestinians and Arab nationalists were critical of Jordan’s regime as having accommodated Israeli ambitions in 1948 at the expense of Palestinian rights and due to Jordan’s historical stance against the nationalist movement that swept the region in the 1950s. Based in the refugee camps between 1968 and 1970, the fedayeen, or freedom-fighters, virtually developed a state within a state and were supported by Jordanian groups and individuals who opposed the Hashemite regime and its policies.

On 16 September 1970 the king declared martial law and formed a military government to enforce it. A twenty-four-hour curfew went into effect in Amman and Zarka, while heavy fighting between the Jordanian army and the Palestinian Resistance Movement broke out in five cities, including Amman. The Syrians intervened briefly but ineffectively on the side of the Palestinians; Iraq also promised to help but that support never appeared. At the end of September a ceasefire signed in Cairo went into effect, but small-scale fighting continued while the Jordanian government asserted its authority. In July 1971 the Palestinians were driven out of their last strongholds (Jerash, Ajlun, and Irbid). Most of them fled to Syria and Lebanon; a few went to Iraq and Occupied Territories. Estimates of the total number of casualties range from 5,000 to 25,000; they included many Palestinian and Jordanian civilians. Whatever the number, the Palestinian political and military presence in Jordan had been eradicated, but the schism in Palestinian–Jordanian relations had been widened (Kimball,
Websites: -
The Xenophile Historian -

1988 severance of legal and administrative ties
In March 1972, shortly after the expulsion of the PLO forces from Jordan, King Hussein launched a plan for a federative relationship between the East and the West Banks. Realizing that the centralized unitary formula that had pertained from 1950 to 1967 was no longer possible, and while keeping the East Bank supremacy in the Jordanian–Palestinian equation, King Hussein gave limited recognition to the distinctive Palestinian national identity by proposing the establishment of the ‘United Arab Kingdom’. The proposal was to form a federation between an autonomous Jordanian region on the East Bank and an autonomous Palestinian region in the West Bank – including Arab Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip (Nevo and Pappé 1994: 213). 

Neither Israel nor the Arab world including the Palestinians accepted King Hussein’s proposal for a federation. In 1974, Jordan had to accept the Arab consensus reached during the Arab summit held in Rabat to recognize the PLO as ‘the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people’, as well as its rights to set up an ‘independent national authority’ in any Palestinian territory that Israel relinquished. 

Notwithstanding this recognition, King Hussein never believed that the PLO would actually fulfil the role of the negotiator over the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The losses of the PLO in 1982 and its dependency on the Arab countries created an opportunity for King Hussein to revive again the call for a political partnership with the PLO. In February 1985 Hussein and Arafat reached an agreement based on the understanding that Jordan and a future Palestinian state would be linked in a confederation. However, the Amman Summit Accords of 1985 failed and came to a dead end as a result of the Jordanian–PLO rivalry for supremacy in Palestinian affairs. 

The outbreak of the Palestinian Intifada in 1987 negatively affected King Hussein’s plans for partnership with the Palestinians in the West Bank. The Intifada provided the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories with greater momentum and power to speak out and to liberate themselves from the occupation without reliance on others. While Jordan’s argument since the 1974 Rabat resolutions had been that the PLO had in effect been imposed on the people of the Occupied Territories by an Arab league decision about which they had not been consulted, the Intifada disproved the Jordanian argument. King Hussein then admitted that the Palestinian people had ‘elected the PLO’ as their representative. ‘From this premise’, he concluded, Jordan could ‘not carry any more burdens’ ( Radio Amman, 3 May 1988 in Nevo and Pappé 1994: 217) 

In 1988 a royal speech announced the administrative severance between Jordan and the West Bank. This rendered one and a half million Palestinians with Jordanian passports (citizens of Jordan) Palestinian nationals. The royal speech, delivered by King Hussein on the evening of 31 July 1988, declared: ‘Today, we respond to the wish of the PLO, the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and to the Arab orientation [seeking] to affirm the Palestinian identity in all its aspects ... It has to be understood in all clarity, and without any ambiguity or equivocation, that our measures regarding the West Bank concern only the occupied Palestinian land and its people. They naturally do not relate in any way to the Jordanian citizens of Palestinian origins in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. They all have the full rights of citizenship and all its obligations, the same as any other citizen irrespective of his origin’ (Kassim 1987).

Thus, all those living in the West Bank became categorized as ‘Palestinians’. In this case ‘Palestinians’ signified people residing in the Occupied Territories and had no legal status. Though the king’s speech contained administrative directives which were not constitutional, they nonetheless created further anxieties and uncertainties for the Palestinians (Shiblak 1996).

In 1978 the Jordanian Ministry of Information stated that there were approximately 100,000 Jordanians working in Saudi Arabia, of whom 8,000 were schoolteachers. Most of those working abroad were of Palestinian origin. When the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein decided to occupy Kuwait and the Gulf War 1990–1 erupted soon after, 350,000 Jordanians (the majority of Palestinian origins) returned to Jordan, which had to accommodate unexpected numbers of ‘returnees’, as those expelled from the Gulf countries were classified.

The returnees added to the economic stagnation of the country. At least a tenth were forced into overcrowded refugee camps, while many others joined the unemployed. Some Palestinian returnees later chose to go to the West Bank and Gaza or to migrate elsewhere. 

Jordanian Embassy -
Meria, ‘The 1991 Gulf War and Jordan’s Economy’ -
Naser, Impact of Gulf War Immigration on the Growth of a Private Sector -
US Department of State -

3.2 Categories
There are several categories in Jordan for people holding a variety of different papers connoting different labels and giving access to different services. The various categories are outlined in the following table:
Origin  Residence  Kind of Passport  Family Book*  Card of Crossing**   Accessibility to services
Jordanian - East Banker  Permanent
residency in Jordan  Five year passport with the National ID Number.   yes  -  Full access
Jordanian - Palestinian of 1948  Permanent residency  in Jordan  Five-year passport with national ID NUMBER.   yes  -   Full access
Jordanian - Palestinian of 1967  Permanent residency in Jordan  Five year passport with National ID Number.
yes  Yellow Card - family reunification  Full access
Jordanian- Palestinian of 1967  Permanent residency in the West Bank  Five-year passport without national ID number
No family book   Green Card Work needs a work permit, university education payment in foreign fees, ownership with the approval of a ministerial council
Jordanian-Palestinian from Jerusalem  Permanent residency in Jerusalem  Five-year passport without national ID number
No  Green Card Work needs a work permit, university education payment in foreign fees, ownership with the approval of a ministerial council
Palestinians of Gaza  Permanent residency in Jordan  Two-year temporary passport  No  In case of family reunification - Blue Card  Work needs a work permit, university education payment in foreign fees, ownership with the approval of a ministerial council
Palestinians of the West Bank or Gaza Strip  Permanent residency in West Bank or Gaza Strip  Palestinian authority passport (LP)  No  Permission to enter  Treated like any Arab in Jordan: as long as there is a valid residency they can access services permitted for foreigners

* Family book: this registers the civil status of the members of the family (birth and marital status)
** Crossing Card (or Card of Crossing [the bridges]): a card given by El Mutaba wel Taftish (the inspection and follow-up department affiliated with the Ministry of the Interior in Jordan). The Yellow Card indicates that its holder is a permanent resident in Jordan and s/he is able to go to the West Bank because of the family reunification card s/he holds. The Green Card indicates that its holder lives in the West Bank and his/her visit in Jordan is temporary (one should usually provide a reason, i.e. work permit, education certificate justifying their stay). The Blue Card is for Gazans who live in Gaza or in Jordan. It indicates that they were included in family reunification cards as being able to live in Gaza.

3.3 UNRWA and the camps
In the early 1950s, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) took over responsibility from the active NGOs working in the field such as the Red Cross and American Friends. In Jordan, it established four camps to shelter those dispossessed of home, homeland, and means of livelihood due to the 1948 war.

Palestinian refugees, according to UNRWA, are defined as persons whose normal residence was Palestine during the period between 1 June 1946 and 15 May 1948, who lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict, and who took refuge in one of the countries or areas where UNRWA provides relief – as well as their direct descendants through the male line.

At the eruption of the 1967 war UNRWA had to accommodate more Palestinian refugees, namely those who were being displaced for the second time having earlier been registered with UNRWA in the camps of the Occupied Territories (as displaced refugees), and those who were being displaced for the first time following the occupation of the West Bank. Six emergency camps were created in Jordan. 

A camp, according to UNRWA, is a plot of land under the disposal of UNRWA given by the host government to accommodate Palestinian refugees and set up facilities to cater for their basic needs. In some cases, Palestinians were unable to get units in the refugee camps. Some camps were established by the Jordanian government but were not officially recognized by UNRWA. In Jordan, in addition to the ten UNRWA-run or ‘official’ camps there are three unofficial camps:. Madaba, Prince Hassan (Nasser), and Sukhneh. 

In December 2002, 42 per cent of the registered Palestinian refugees (1,698,271) lived in Jordan, of whom 17 per cent lived in camps, totalling a population of 296,803.

Many refugees and displaced persons, especially those who held Jordanian nationality,  relied on their social networks and were able to settle in urban centres. There are more than fifty-four settlements – squatter areas where Palestinians live well-integrated into their communities. Few of them, however, are eligible for UNRWA services: examples include Waqqas in the Jordan Valley, and Marriekh.

UNRWA provides several basic services for registered Palestinian refugees These services include basic education, health care, and relief and social services. UNRWA’s relief services provide some assistance to special hardship cases with food rations and a small financial subsidy. The relief programme in Jordan also supports women’s programme centres (thirty-five centres), community rehabilitation centres (ten centres), and youth activities centres. This reflects a shift towards initiatives emphasizing developmental social welfare and self-reliance to complement the Agency’s direct-relief efforts (UNRWA 2000)

No. of UNRWA schools for basic education  No. of UNRWA health centres  No of hardship cases
190  23  42,702

(UNRWA fact sheet 2002, December)

UNRWA has been left as the only organizational structure for the 1948 refugees. ‘The UN flag flying in the camps has a great symbolism,’ says William Lee, UNRWA Director in Jordan. ‘It means that the world hasn’t forgotten them.’ The fact that it has tentacles that reach out to the international community, primarily the United Nations (with the implication that it is bound by UNGA Resolution 194 (III)), renders it a more significant organization through which economic and political priorities and demands may be renegotiated (Farah 1997: 291).

3.4 The Department of Palestinian Affairs (DPA)
The DPA is a governmental body, which takes care of all administrative and security matters related to the thirteen camps in Jordan. It supervises the physical infrastructure in the camps including water pipes, sewage systems, electricity and road maintenance. It monitors the construction of residential and commercial units and outlets in the camps. Through its offices in the camps it coordinates closely with UNRWA in all aspects concerning relief and services. The DPA also processes visiting permits submitted by Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank. Officials and researchers have to get permits from the DPA in order to visit the camps or to assess the living conditions of their inhabitants. The representative of the DPA is also expected to coordinate closely with his/her Palestinian counterpart in order to create a Palestinian file on the refugee conditions inside and outside Palestine.

In addition, any project carried out by international NGOs has to obtain the DPA’s approval. Since 1999, the DPA has been cooperating with an Italian NGO, Instituto per la Cooperatzione Universitaria (ICU), to implement a project on the social and physical rehabilitation of the camps in Jordan. The project also includes a small credit programme and provides vocational training services for camp dwellers and youth seeking employment. 

In coordination with several government bodies, such as the Housing and Urban Development Corporation and the Ministry of Planning, through funding by the World Bank, in 1998 the DPA initiated the Social Productivity Programme aiming to improve the infrastructure of the camps (in particular potable water, sewage systems, and roads).

Badil -
Radio Netherlands, ‘Jordan Needs Palestinians’ -

3.5 Society
The demographic factor in Jordan, where over 60 per cent of people are of Palestinian origins, complicates fragile and fluctuating Palestinian–Jordanian relations. Depending on the political context, the Jordanian government has handled the situation by either emphasizing the unity between Palestinians and Jordanians as equal citizens in one nation-state, or privileging a local Transjordanian identity. The PLO’s political relations with the Jordanian government played an important role in how the Jordanian state represented its own society and nation. During periods of hostility, Transjordan identity was emphasized, and government discourse and policies shifted in its favour. Over the years, the state has shifted its position in the portrayal of the national image and society: when necessary Jordan becomes the ‘large extended family’ while during other periods of crisis the public media begins to produce images of Jordan as the small tribe (Farah 1999: 285).

In general, Palestinians have encountered discrimination. By focusing its strategies of recruitment and rewards on the ‘asha’ir’ (large Transjordanian clans), the regime has reinforced the salience of tribal affiliation to East Banker identity – though not all tribes enjoy the same support (Brand 1995: 48). On the other hand, ‘Palestinians want to return eventually, because they are exploited by the Jordanian establishment. Their career options are limited to the private sector, they run the economy, but have no access to the decision making circles and state institutions’ (interview with UNRWA employee, Article 74 1994). Although a small number have attained government jobs, few Palestinians of prominent and affluent families have been able to come close to the circles of power in Jordan.

There are many grassroots organizations working in refugee camps in Jordan. Few are funded from abroad. They depend on the yearly subsidy they get from the Department of Palestinian Affairs to sustain their humanitarian services and projects. There are some active local and international NGOs working in camps. To mention a few, Médécins du Monde has established two health centres in Baq’a and Jerash camps, and the Spanish MPDL has funded house rehabilitation in camps.

Arab Women Connect -
DPA - (NGOs and grassroots in camps)
JordanDevNet - (Near East Council of Churches for Refugee Work (NECC)
Jordan Doctors Guide -
Jordan River - http://www.jordanriver. jo
The Welfare Association Consortium -
World YWCA -

3.6 Legal rights
Palestinians who have been living on the East Bank of Jordan since 1948 are all Jordanian citizens. After the 1988 severance of administrative and legal ties between the East Bank and the West Bank, the legal status of Palestinians living in the West Bank changed. They were given temporary passports renewable every two years instead of regular passports that granted them full citizenship rights in Jordan. (The renewal period time period was extended to five years in 1995 by royal decree.) This placed the West Bankers on a par with the ex-Gaza refugees, who had been granted temporary passports since 1968. There are estimated to be 150,000 Gazans in Jordan (US Human Rights Report 2000).

As demonstrated in the categories table (see Categories), the government issued a series of coloured cards to distinguish between various categories of Palestinians in Jordan. Those who hold Yellow Cards are holders of permanent Jordanian passports and of a national ID number, but they also have family reunification permits provided by the Israeli occupation authorities. Green Cards were distributed to West Bankers allowing them to visit Jordan and return to the West Bank, while Blue Cards were given to Palestinians from Gaza, also allowing them to visit. Pink Cards allow people from Gaza temporary stay in the East Bank. Many people who have Green Cards have ambiguous status because after administrative disengagement from the West Bank and the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority they were granted Palestinian passports, which do not connote a nationality, since the PNA is not a sovereign nation-state. 

U.S Department of State -

3.7 Right to education
Palestinian refugees with full Jordanian citizenship officially have access to all public services. Those living in the refugee camps, however, generally use UNRWA’s services, including UNRWA schools and other educational centres. 

Displaced Palestinians and Gazans also have access to both public schools and UNRWA schools upon proving residence in a camp. However, all holders of he two/five-year temporary passports are treated as foreigners and are required to pay their fees in foreign currency, which makes it difficult for the majority to enrol in Jordanian universities.

3.8 Right to employment
Jordanian citizens, including those of Palestinian origin living in Jordan, have access to jobs in the public and private sectors. It is important to note here that political tensions between the Jordanian state and the Palestinians were exacerbated by what is known as the ‘Jordanization’ policy implemented in the 1970s. This policy favoured Transjordanian recruitment in the public sector, forcing Palestinians to see employment and livelihood in the private sector, including banking and commerce. The holders of temporary passports are required to apply for a work permit to work in the private sector.

3.9 Ownership
Palestinians in Jordan have the right to own property. Only holders of temporary passports do not have this right. They are requested to have a local Jordanian partner in any property they own and to request the approval of a ministerial council. 

3.10 Conclusion
Although Palestinians in Jordan enjoy citizenship rights, they have faced discrimination generally and especially in employment and education, in particular those who are socially and economically disadvantaged. The fact that Palestinians carry Jordanian passports has not diluted their sense of belonging to Palestine, although this does vary as a result of many factors, not least socio-economic status. The national differences between Jordanians and Palestinians, however, fluctuate according to larger political processes and dynamics. At the heart of political turmoil in the region and particularly in Jordan, the country with the largest number of registered refugees, is the Right of Return. Since their expulsion in 1948 Israel has denied Palestinians the right to return to their homes and lands, which means that while they may want to improve their social and economic lives, they often do not want to be viewed as having acquiesced to schemes that aim at their integration. 

The conditions of the various categories of refugees vary; in particular, those originating in the West Bank and Gaza have different rights and privileges. The ex-Gaza refugees do not have citizenship rights and their economic and social conditions are difficult. Due to their legal status, ex-Gaza refugees also encounter problems travelling out of or into Jordan. The status of those living in the West Bank changed following the 1988 disengagement directives, making their legal position uncertain, complicated by the Israeli occupation. However, in 1996, the Palestinian National Authority issued travel documents for West Bankers and Gazans. 

4. Other resources
4.1 Non-electronic resources and bibliography
Abdalla, S.L., ‘Palestinian Women in the Camps of Jordan: Interviews’. Journal of Palestine Studies 34 (4), Summer 1995.
Abu Helweh, M., and Birch, B. ‘The Demography and Housing Conditions of Palestinian Refugees in and Around the Camps in Amman, Jordan’. Journal of Refugee Studies, 4 (6) pp. 403–413, 1993.
Abu Odeh, A., Jordanian, Palestinians and the Hashemite Kingdom in the Middle East Peace Process. Washington DC: Institute of Peace Press, 1999.
Article 74, ‘Palestinians Displaced’. Article 74, 13, Badil, 1994.
––, ‘Palestinian Refugees in Jordan. Article 74, 13, Badil, 1995.
Brand, L., ‘Palestinian and Jordanains: A Crisis of Identity’. Journal of Palestine Studies 34 (4), Summer 1995.
Cattan, Henry, The Palestine Question. London: Croom Helm, 1988.
DPA, Five Decades of Responsibility in the Refugee Camps of Jordan. Amman, Department of Palestinian Affairs, 2000.
Destrmau, B., ‘Deux camps de refugiés a Amman’. Revue d’études Palestiniennes, 52, pp. 21-68. London, UK. 1994a.
––, ‘L’éspace du camps et la reproduction du provisoire: les camps de refugiés Palestiniens de Wihdat et de Jabal Hussein à Amman’. In R. Bocco and M.-R, Djalili (eds), Moyen-Orient: migrations, democratisation, mediations. Paris, PUF, 1994b, pp. 83–100. 
––, ‘Les camps de refugiés ou la double identite territoriale: le cas d’Amman’. Les cahiers D’AURBAMA, 11, pp. 5–56. Tours, France: Les Cahier D’URBAMA, 1995.
––, ‘Les camps de refugiés Palestiniens et la ville, entre enclave et quartier’. In J. Hannoyer and S. Shami (eds), Amman, ville et societé. Beirut: Cermoc, 1996.
Farah, Randa, ‘Crossing Boundaries: Reconstruction of Palestinian Identities in al-Baqa’a Refugee Camp, Jordan’, in Palestine, Palestiniens, Les Cahiers du CERMOC, No17, Liban, pp 259-297. 1997.
––, Popular Memory and Reconstructions of Palestinians Identity – Al- Baq’a Refugee Camp, Jordan. D.Phil. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto, 1999.
Hadawai, S., A Modern History of Palestine, New York, Olive Branch Press, 1991.
Jaber, H., ‘Visite au camp de Jerash’. Revue d’études Palestiniennes 2, 1995, pp. 15–19. 
––,‘Le Camp de Wihdat entre norme et transgression’. Revue d’études Palestiniennes 8, 1996, pp. 37–48.
Jarrar, N., Al Lajoun al filastinouyoun: madkhal lilmouraja wa istiqra lilmoustaqbal. Jerusalem, Passia, 1994.
Jureidini, P.A. and Mclaurin, R.D., Jordan, The Impact of Social Change on the Role of the Tribes. The Washington Papers 108, 1984.
Kassim, Anis, ‘The Palestinian: From Hyphenated to Integrated Citizens’, in the Palestine Year Book of International Law, Vol. IV, p. 297, 1987.
Mishal, S., West Bank/East Bank: The Palestinians in Jordan, 1949-1965. New Haven, Yale University Press, 1978.
Mutawi S., Jordan in the 1967 War. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1987.
Nevo J. and Pappé, I., Jordan in the Middle East 1948–1988; the Making of a Pivotal State. Essex, UK: Frank Cass, 1994.
Nyrop, R. (ed.), Jordan, a Country Study, Foreign Area Studies. The American University, 1979.
Peretz, D., Palestinians, Refugees and the Middle East Peace Process. Washington D.C., United States Institute of Peace Press, 1993.
Plascov, A., The Palestinian Refugees in Jordan, 1948–1957. London, Frank Cass, 1981a.
––, ‘A Palestinian State? Examining the Alternatives’. Adelphi Papers 163, Spring 1981b.
Qutaishat A. and Mahmoud, L., Palestinian Refugee Camps in Jordan: Status, Report and Data Base. Amman: UNICEF. 1993.
Samha, M., ‘Camp Refugees in Jordan’s East Bank: Distribution and Problems’. In J. Rogge (ed), Refugees: A Third Dilemma. New Jersey, Rawman and Little Field, 1987.
Shiblak, Abbas, ‘Residency Status and Civil Rights of Palestinian Refugees in Arab Countries’. Journal of Palestine Studies 25 (3), Spring 1996.
Shlaim, Avi, Collusion Across the Jordan: King Abdulla and the Zionist Movement and the Partition of Palestine. New York, Columbia University Press, 1988.
Smith, P.A., Palestine and the Palestinians 1876–1983. London, Croom Helm, 1984.
Tannous, Izzat, The Palestinians: A Detailed Documented Eyewitness History of Palestine Under British Mandate , New York: IGT Co. 1988.
U.S Department of State Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2000, Jordan, 2001.
UNRWA, 1950, UNRWA and Palestine Refugees. UNRWA, Gaza, 2000.
Voirst, M., UNRWA and Peace in the Middle East. Washington D.C., The Middle East Institute, 1989.
Zureik, E., The Palestinian Refugees and the Peace Process. Beirut, Centre of Palestine Studies, 1995.


Zuhair Irsan prefers life in a makeshift refugee camp on the Syrian-Iraqi border to staying in Baghdad where he says Palestinians like him are being targeted for no reason.

"I came here fleeing death and detention. I was arrested for 75 days, during which I saw death many times," said the 50-year-old man who recently fled the capital with his wife and two children and has been trying to enter Syria for weeks.
"I was detained by the (Iraqi) Interior Ministry just because I'm a Palestinian and the ministry refuses to renew our residency."

Although their hopes are dim that the Syrian authorities will allow them into the country, the 194 Palestinians camped here are reluctant to return to Baghdad.

Palestinians began flocking to the Tanaf checkpoint on the Syria-Iraq border, some 190 miles northeast of Damascus, on May 11, two days after Syrian authorities allowed 287 Palestinians who were stranded for two months on the Iraq-Jordan border to enter its territory in what Syria said was a "humanitarian" gesture.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry has said it will not allow additional Palestinians coming from Iraq to enter its territory. Still, the Palestinians cling to the hope that the Syrian government will change its position.

The ban appears aimed at discouraging the estimated 34,000 Palestinians who live in Iraq from heading to Syria, already home to about 500,000 Palestinians.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees has set up a temporary camp for the Palestinians and is providing them with food, water and medical care, the organization's representative in Syria, Abdel-Hamid El-Ouali, said.

But in spite of Damascus' ban, Palestinians are expected to head to the border in increasing numbers in the coming days when the school year wraps up in Iraq.

Some 25 people, most of them elderly, have left the camp since it was set up because they were unable to bear the scorching heat of the desert. Of those who remain, the majority - 126 - are women and children.

Zaydan Hassan, 28, said five members of his family returned to the capital "because they could not stand the harsh atmosphere here."
But for Hassan and others, the desert is the best of their unenviable options.
"I prefer to live here in the desert over returning to Baghdad because there I would die - although I don't know how. It could be shooting, burning or stabbing," Hassan said as he sat in front of the tent he shares with his family. "There is absolutely no security there."
Another camp resident, Mohammed Hussein Mahmoud, 38, said he was detained by Interior Ministry forces for 42 days on charges of detonating a car. "I was tortured for 16 days around the clock just because I am a Palestinian."
"I prefer to stay here all my life than return to Iraq," he said.

Iraq's ousted leader Saddam Hussein, who liked to be seen as a champion of Arab causes, provided Palestinian refugees in Iraq with privileges like free housing, stipends and government jobs. The largesse he showed them enraged many Iraqis, who coped with the deprivations of nearly 13 years of U.N. sanctions, which ended after Saddam's 2003 overthrow, without such support.

Ahmed Nour al-Deen, 25, said he came here 25 days ago with his wife and daughter, and was seeking asylum anywhere in the world "that could ensure a safe life for my family, far from violence."

Scores of Iraqis attacked Palestinian homes in Baghdad after the regime's fall, seeing them as Saddam supporters. That wave of attacks forced many to flee the country or go into hiding.
"Some Iraqis bombed my house and tried to kill me in the street. I was threatened four times. My friends asked me not to come back because militants were looking for me," Nour al-Deen said. "I will not return to Iraq no matter how much it costs. Returning means death because they have told us that Iraq is for Iraqis alone - not for Palestinians."


Nearly 190 Palestinians, including four pregnant women and 29 children, are still stranded in no-man's-land on the Iraqi-Syrian border two weeks after they said threats and harassment forced them to flee Baghdad, despite efforts by the United Nations refugee agency to gain them entry into Syria.

“We are continuing our demarches with the Syrian government to allow the Palestinians entry into Syria, but have so far been unsuccessful,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis told a news briefing in Geneva today.
The 186 Palestinians fled Baghdad for the Tanf border checkpoint after Syria earlier this month accepted a first group of 287 Palestinians, most of whom had been stranded for two months at the Iraqi-Jordanian border. More Palestinians are reportedly still on the Iraqi side of the border also hoping for entry into Syria.

UNHCR has provided all those in no-man’s land with aid items, food, water, and milk for the children. More than 60 tents and several mobile toilets have been put up. One woman who was about to give birth was allowed into Syria so that she could deliver her baby in Damascus. At the border, the Syrian Red Crescent is providing medical help.

The Palestinians who were transported from the Iraqi-Jordanian border to the UNHCR-run El Hol refugee camp earlier this month are doing well and UNHCR has re-opened a day-care centre there for small children and employed a doctor to provide medical care, Ms. Pagomis said.

The security situation for the estimated 24,000 Palestinians still living in Baghdad, seems to have improved a bit in recent weeks, she added. But people are still leaving as the general violence in Iraq continues.

UN News Centre- 23/5/2006


Damascus - Some 244 Palestinian refugees fleeing violence and instability in Iraq crossed the border into Syria Tuesday after a two-month wait for many of them at the Iraqi-Jordanian border.

Nine busloads of refugees arrived in Syria through the Tanef crossing, some 300 kilometres northeast of Damascus, under the auspices of the United Nations Refugees and Work Agency (UNRWA) and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).
Tanef, once a major route for travellers and trade between Iraq and Syria, is a 600 kilometre (375 mile) drive from Baghdad.

Out of those arriving in Syria Tuesday 181 had been stranded since March 19 at the Trebil border point just inside Iraq after being refused entry to Jordan.

They were received at the Syrian border by Ali Mustafa, head of the general administration for Palestinian Arab refugees in Syria, and a three-man delegation from Hamas.

During a visit to Syria on April 20, the Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Al-Zahar announced that the Syrian leadership, in coordination with the United Nations agencies, had granted entry permission to Palestinian refugees in Iraq who faced pressure in that country.
An additional group of 54 Palestinians in Baghdad, also hoping to gain entry into Syria, left Baghdad on April 22 upon hearing Assad's decision. The group was later allowed to join the initial 181-strong crowd. Nine members of two Palestinian families also joined the group for Tuesday's crossing.

The refugees included around 41 women and 70 children.
'I have been on the border since March 19. I am extremely glad to find a country to live in at a time when all the Arabs have rejected us. I am sure I will live in Syria safely,' said Iyhab Tim, 30, a Palestinian from Baghdad.

Tim said he left Iraq with his wife and child after being subjected to 'many harassments, along with almost all the Palestinian community, and continuous threats in Iraq.'

Another group of 35 Palestinians, mostly men, have also been camping on the Iraqi-Syrian borders for five days now, hoping to be allowed to cross to Syria.
It was not clear whether the Syrian authorities would allow them entry.

UN aid agencies said they would offer the Palestinians food and drink in addition to temporary accommodation at El Hol camp at al- Hasakah province, some 707 kilometres (441 miles) northeast of Damascus.


Palestinian sources revealed on Tuesday that the UNRWA has made a decision to reduce food rations distributed every three months to the refugees. The decision aims at paving the way, the sources added, for the complete cancellation of all food rations within the next two years.

According to the sources, the UNRWA director in Lebanon, Richard Cook, recently issued a decision stipulating a 55-percent reduction in food rations. They added that flour, which had formerly been supplied alongside other foods, will no longer be distributed.

Food rations have been distributed to Palestinian refugees since 1948, but over the years donor countries have decreased their contributions, resulting in a reduction of available funds with which to provide the rations. Palestinian sources were concerned by information leaked from UNRWA headquarters that services extended to refugees, such as the rations and health care, would end in the coming two years, especially after UNRWA slashed the number of workers who distribute the rations.

Currently, a single team of 10 UNRWA employees handle the rations distribution in each of the five districts where refugee camps are located in Lebanon, whereas previously teams of 10 were present in each camp.
UNRWA members could not be contacted for comment.

Meanwhile, Palestinian popular committees continued their protest against a related UNRWA decision to cut medical coverage, once more closing down the agency's clinics and health centers in refugee camps across the country, a claim the UNRWA refutes.

The protests were stepped up after a meeting scheduled to be held in Sidon between Cook and Palestinian Liberation Organization committees was canceled and relocated to UNRWA headquarters in Beirut.
Lieutenant Colonel Abu Said al-Youssef, a member of the Higher Follow-Up Committee of popular committees in Lebanon, said the Palestinians have yet to see a positive response from Cook, despite contacts made by the PLO commander in Lebanon and the popular committees.

Youssef said the protests will continue until the UNRWA meets the refugees' "fair" demands, most notably the reversal of this month's decision to partner with the Beirut General University Hospital (BGUH) instead of the Hammoud Hospital in Sidon.

The committees' information official Abu Rabih Derbas said: "Violating our people's rights for services is strictly forbidden," adding that the refugees will counter "UNRWA's arbitrary policy with further popular action."
The health-care decision reportedly also includes a care reduction to a third-grade level.

But according to a UNRWA statement issued in response to an article published in Tuesday's edition of The Daily Star, the "UNRWA has not reduced the quality nor quantity of medical care provided to Palestinian refugees, rather the contrary."

The statement read: "A new agreement has indeed been signed between UNRWA and the BGUH for the treatment of cold cases of tertiary nature (i.e. treatment of a specialized nature requiring multi-specialty interventions).
"The decision was made with the best interests of the Palestinian refugee patients in mind, because it gives him or her first-class treatment at a very reasonable cost, whilst UNRWA's contribution remains the same, thereby reducing the cost to the patient.

"In addition, the majority of patients treated, who come from all over Lebanon, will have less distance to travel.
"UNRWA would like, particularly, to point out that this applies to tertiary care and that all arrangements for the provision of secondary hospital care, i.e. uncomplicated cases, and for open-heart surgery, remain the same as in previous years, provided at contracted hospitals in each area."

The statement further stressed that UNRWA "is not handing over its medical services to the government health-care system, but has taken advantage of high-quality services provided at a competitive price, thereby improving its services to Palestine refugees.

The statement indicated that, contrary to Palestinian claims that certain medicines were no longer available, "the agency confirms that all essential drugs, for both acute and chronic needs, in accordance with the World Health Organization's list of essential drugs, are available at all UNRWA health centers."

The director of UNRWA affairs in Lebanon is to meet with Palestinian Popular Committees and senior representatives of the refugee community in "the next few days to further explain the Agency's position on these issues," the statement said.