Connect to share and comment

Do Palestinian deportations loom?

An order targeting Palestinians without papers in the West Bank threatens hardship for Jordan.

Children shout anti-Israeli slogans during a "Nakba" sit-in outside the United Nations office in Amman May 15, 2010. Nakba (Catastrophe) commemorates the time when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were expelled or fled from their homes in the war that led to the founding of Israel in 1948. (Majed Jaber/Reuters)

AMMAN, Jordan — While Jordan and Israel often find themselves politically at odds, it’s rare to find an official group in the Kingdom publicly advocating direct support of armed resistance forces in the Palestinian territories. Jordan is, after all, one of two Arab nations that has a peace agreement with Israel.

Yet as concerns mount that a new Israel military order could potentially deport thousands of Palestinians to Jordan, a veterans’ organization here called to supply Palestinian militants with an “effective missile system.” In a recent statement, the National Committee of Retired Military also said the militia forces law should be reactivated to counter the new Israeli measure.

It remains unlikely that Israel’s new military order — that stipulates that it can deport any Palestinian in the West Bank without proper identification papers — will send many, if any, refugees into Jordan. However, activists and analysts agree that it poses a long-term threat for the Palestinians and the region, while also distracting from the peace process.

“It raises the level of tension in the region to unprecedented highs,” said Kamel Abu Jaber, Jordan’s former foreign minister and former minister of Palestinian affairs. “It is an indication that once again Israel has no intention whatsoever of abiding by commitments to the peace process, international law, the two-state plan of Obama. It’s saying to the whole world, ‘Go to Hell. I’ll do what I want.’”

The military order went into effect on April 13 and classifies anyone in the West Bank without proper documentation as an “infiltrator” who is subject to deportation and up to seven years in prison. It appears directed mostly toward Gazans who have relocated to the West Bank, but it could also affect Jordanians who have married Palestinians and never received official residency or are living and working in the West Bank for other reasons.

When a Palestinian moves from Gaza to the West Bank, they’re required to officially update their address for government records. Some people living in the West Bank are officially registered at a Gaza address, which Israel can use as grounds to deport them. In some instances, Palestinians register their change of address with Palestinian authorities, but Israeli officials do not update their information.

So far there have been only a handful of Palestinians deported from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip, but it remains unclear if these deportations happened under the authority of the new order or another regulation.

The order could also affect Jordanians who have married Palestinians and never received official residency or are living and working in the West Bank for other reasons.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/jordan/100503/jordan-palestinian-refugees-israel-deportation