June 01, 2012


With the beginning of thinking about conducting a survey on a sample of the population in Jordan, about the relationship between citizens according to their origins, especially Jordanian and Palestinian ones, a set of caveats emerged, represented in the fact that everyone who holds Jordanian citizenship is a Jordanian who enjoys citizenship rights and bears its responsibilities as stipulated. the Constitution. Why, then, this separation between a Jordanian and a Palestinian within this one national framework, and will such a study lead us to a state of polarization ¿ or to a deepening of this situation if it exists ¿ and what is the wisdom of exposing the negative aspects of this relationship, if any, while no one is talking About it publicly ¿ Then are there such negatives in many societies ¿ And what can Jordan differ from others in this issue?

The decision to proceed with this study stems from concern for the national interest. It is an interest that requires facing problems, discovering them, diagnosing them, and then proposing solutions to them. The study was conducted on three samples: the first was general, which included all sectors and segments of society, the second included camp residents in particular, and the third was limited to the elite, or those whom the study called “opinion leaders”. The survey was completed in February 1995, and its results were drawn a month later.

Then the study was distributed to a group of people with long-standing opinion, experience and experience, who enjoy independence and balance and are keen on the common good. There was then a round table that brought them together in a dialogue that extended over three sessions, during which they presented their views and convictions on various aspects of the Jordanian-Palestinian relationship. Quite frankly, and away from sensitivities and compliments, we take all of them as the results of this study.

In much of what was mentioned in this paper, this paper relied on what took place in those round tables, and although it did not reflect the point of view of any of the participants, it came, in general, as a summation of all opinions and perceptions that emerged during the discussion that was characterized by seriousness. And it reflected many issues of controversy.

From here it can be said that the purpose of this paper is to reveal the nature of the Jordanian-Palestinian relationship, including its positives and negatives… and to try to return all of this to its historical and objective causes… and then propose solutions that guarantee the victory of Jordanian society over the impurities that hinder its progress and prosperity.

We hope that this paper will be the beginning of a positive and fruitful discussion that forms part of a broad work that transcends the negatives, and emphasizes building the Jordanian-Palestinian relationship on sound foundations that will prepare Jordan to take its appropriate role and place among the countries of the region, and to address external challenges, which is more reliable in the cohesion of its front. The interior, which will, then, be a source of strength for him, and an objective condition for his stability, prevention, and development…

Jordanian-Palestinian relationship


In line with the policy planned by the Center for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan, by addressing the most prominent dilemmas facing our Jordanian society, today we are moving towards a very sensitive issue that is rarely discussed publicly, which is the Jordanian-Palestinian relationship from an internal perspective.

The Center organized a “round table” dialogue on this subject, preceded by a field survey to study the various aspects of the relationship between citizens of Jordanian and Palestinian origin in the country, with the aim of providing an information base on that relationship. It studied mutual concerns, obstacles to assimilation, the degree of polarization, and how each side views the other, in addition to trying to identify the shape of the future relationship between Jordan and Palestine, given that the West Bank and Gaza Strip constitute a demographic dimension of the demographic structure in Jordan.

The demographic structure of Jordan changed dramatically after the 1948 and 1967 wars due to immigration and unity between the two banks and the Palestinian exodus, which was reflected on the demographic and social structure, and created what was later known as the country’s social and political specificity. The overall political developments that the region experienced had a negative impact on this relationship.

Instead of subjecting this particular social structure to scientific research, study and analysis away from limited references and premises, this topic was discussed – given its extreme sensitivity – in the spirit of reconciliation and temporary settlements, whose main goal was to gain satisfaction or not to anger any of the politically active parties.

If we proceed from the assumption that two main population groups from two different origins coexist in Jordan now, it becomes clear to us that the relationship between them has been governed by two patterns of political interaction:

The first, and falls within the context of non-public dialogues in homes and political and family salons, most of which are based on echoing impressions, apprehensions, fears, and perhaps illusions of each party about the other, and we can point out here that these dialogues were also greatly affected by external dimensions and interests.

 The second, and related to the public form of dealing with the issue of the Jordanian-Palestinian relationship, which was dominated by conciliation and courtesy, without trying to delve seriously, scientifically, and daringly in analyzing this relationship and its defects. Thus, proposing practical solutions that would fortify the inner house and advance its social form, which would have moved the country from a state of negative reaction to a state of effectiveness and positive initiative.


The Jordanian state was formed in a geographical spot in which the necessary self-conditions that would help in the formation of the state in isolation from external factors have diminished. Thus, the objective foundations were laid for the formation of geographically vertical integration relations after the establishment of the state at the expense of the horizontal relations of integration and exchange that had existed since ancient times. The area with Karak is non-existent. The same applies to the existence of a reciprocal social and commercial relationship between Balqa and Jerusalem, between Nablus and Salt, and between Karak, Hebron and Gaza. On this land, Bedouin, agricultural, and small urban population groups coexisted, with different cultural and sectarian components determined mainly by the different lifestyles of these population groups.

Jordan State:

The modern Jordanian state was established through a historical context in which general characteristics are similar to, to a large extent, the patterns prevailing in the Third World in general. The peculiarity of the modern Jordanian state played a key role in giving it its political characteristics, and in determining the relationship between different population groups to a large extent, and thus the course of social change in the country.

The Jordanian state was established before the concept of a single people crystallized within its framework, and before any institution of the modern state was formed in it. In addition to this important factor, we must take into account that the nature of the state’s formation, the scarcity and limitations of economic resources, and its dependence on foreign financial aid, made it a centralized and interventionist state.

These facts, in addition to the decisive role of the external factor in the formation of the various “national” identities in the region, the scarcity of resources, the narrow economic base of the state, and the lack of job opportunities available in the various sectors, are all factors that represent the starting point and the primary knowledge base that helps identify the roots of internal disputes and understand The dynamics of Jordanian society and its movement.

The slogans that called for the “Jordanization of jobs” were launched by the Jordanian elites from time to time in the first decades of the state’s life, initially directed against the “Syrian” independents, and then against the employees seconded from the British Mandate government in Palestine. This orientation reflects political, social, and economic stances, some of which constitute interest orientations for these elites, and these stances constituted the primary political expression of the Jordanian identity.

The political positions of the Jordanian state since its inception, which sometimes stood in a competitive position to the Palestinian leadership at the time, placed the Jordanian bureaucratic elites in a political position against the Palestinian street, and later clashed with the various Palestinian resistance factions, and this necessarily reflected, and still is, on the nature of the relationship between The Jordanians and the Palestinians, and all of these forces constituted external pressure factors that interacted with other internal factors, and led to the narrowing of the circle of freedoms, the disruption of parliamentary life from time to time, and the imprisonment of political activists and intellectuals, which had negative cumulative effects on the Jordanian-Palestinian relationship.

Jordanian-Palestinian Unity and Relationship:

One of the results of the 1948 war was the loss of the greater part of Palestine, and the displacement of its people, and this important event was linked to fundamental changes in the demographic and geographical structure of the Jordanian state, including the structure of the city and the village and their living patterns. Jerusalem.

On the demographic level, the demographic composition of the Jordanian state has varied, and this, in turn, constituted a key factor in moving and directing Jordanian policy internally and externally. At the political level, the Jordanian state initially sought to mobilize support for unity in the Palestinian community, as the constitution was amended, and the executive authority (the Council of Ministers) became ) is responsible – more – before the National Assembly, which led to the expansion of its legislative powers.

As for organized popular political action, the Palestinian cause was its main driver. The Palestinians at that time accepted nothing less than the swift removal of all forms of injustice inflicted on them, including the return to their homes. Since many Palestinians had the impression that the Jordanian regime was responsible – in one way or another – for the defeat of 1948, an atmosphere of mistrust and suspicion of the regime prevailed. This formed the basis for the alliances between the majority of the Palestinian community and those political and ideological currents that took an opposing position from the government. The unity announced in 1950, and the geographical expansion of the Jordanian state, did not lead to changing the name of the state in line with the new developments. On the contrary, work was done to “Jordanize” all citizens in a state whose geographical and demographic composition differed. In the context of its attempt to consolidate unity, the Jordanian state has adopted local Palestinian leaders whose interests are linked to them, and the Jordanian leadership has replaced the Palestinian leadership that represented the Palestinians before the establishment of unity. Despite the historical significance of this development, the name of the state was not a major issue at the time. In the beginning, the Palestinian community was afraid that Israel would swallow up the West Bank, if Jordan abandoned it and left it in a vacuum, in addition to the role that the Jordanian Arab army could play in defending the land, and Jordan’s distinguished relations internationally, all of which were auxiliary factors for acceptance The principle of unity among the majority of Palestinians. This is evident in the merger of the Palestinian and Jordanian elites in the partisan and union movement, in social relations, and in the parliamentary life of the country…etc. This was also in line with the political organizations’ endeavor to have a national dimension by extending their activities to include both sides of the kingdom.

In the Jordanian community, the unity was generally accepted, and at the time it did not raise any fears of a Palestinian economic and demographic dominance like the one we see today.

It can be said that the Jordanian-Palestinian relationship was characterized by social unity despite the cultural differences that were dictated by different lifestyles, and the two large sectors of the population in the state of unity were not facing each other, but rather the fusion between them was high. Unified political and social ideas framed the citizens of the two banks, while the relations of the opposition and the political alliance were often built on ideological foundations, where regional, clan, or regional foundations did not play the role they play now.

ولقد ظهر جلياَ مدى عمق العلاقة في الفترة الأولى من حكم الملك حسين 1953-1957 التي اتسمت بالاتجاه نحو الانفتاح السياسي الداخلي، فظهرت العلاقة الأردنية الفلسطينية قوية ومتينة. وكانت الأحزاب في الضفتين تخوض معاركها الانتخابية بقوائم موحدة. وكانت النخبة السياسية بغض النظر عن جذورها الجهوية تقوم بجولات في جميع المناطق تأييداَ لمبدأ سياسي دون آخر، كما أن هذه الفترة من العلانية قد سمحت للقطاعات الشعبية التعبير عن توجهاتها السياسية في قضايا محلية، وعربية، وإقليمية، ودولية. وقد تجلى الانصهار الاجتماعي والسياسي في ظاهرة التقدم بالترشيح والفوز بالمقاعد النيابية للكركي في القدس، أو الخليلي أو النابلسي في عمان واربد.

The impression of discrimination was created with the increase in tension between the government and the political street, beginning with the emergence of concerns about the pattern that there is a central plan in Amman based on reducing public spending in the West Bank and directing investments towards the East Bank, and despite all that, political action in its entirety remained “national” and not regional. He viewed the Jordanian-Palestinian relationship from the fifties until 1967 as an internal Jordanian relationship, and did not view it as a relationship between two entities or even between two identities, despite the formation of the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1964 and its demand to represent all Palestinians, including the Palestinians of Jordan.

The 1967 war constituted a historical turning point that had radical effects on the level of the Jordanian-Palestinian relationship. For the first time since the union, the so-called official Jordanian-Palestinian relationship appeared, and the competition for the representation of the Palestinians of Jordan emerged between the Palestinian resistance factions – in their various primary forms – and the government in Jordan, and this relationship was reflected on The popular level, so the Palestinian identity emerged in the center that the government was striving to “Jordanize,” and a rift occurred that established the beginnings of organized political action on a regional basis.

In an attempt to re-arrange the “Jordanian home and self-protection” following the armed clash between it and the resistance factions, and the joining of part of the Palestinian workers in the armed forces and security services to those factions, the Jordanian state reduced the number of Palestinians in the army and security services, and this also applied to the security services supreme state. And if we take into account the openness of the Gulf labor market, and the relatively high salaries there, large numbers of Palestinians chose to migrate to work in the Gulf markets. While the majority of Jordanians continued their involvement in the military and civil bureaucratic bodies, which had the greatest impact on the imbalance in the distribution of national income later.

Diagnostics and suggestions for repair:

There is a consensus in the political and social circles that the current state of the relationship between Jordanians and Palestinians in Jordan needs to be addressed. It can be proposed to move towards correcting this relationship through the study of the Center for Strategic Field Studies on the Jordanian-Palestinian relationship in February 1995, which touched – to a large extent – the degree of fusion and the degree of polarization in Jordan. It forms the basis of polarization and impedes fusion in the two classes. If a set of policies are applied, the melting point will rise a lot, and the final removal of obstacles becomes only a matter of time.

The obstacles posed by citizens of Jordanian origin are:

  1. The private business sector is concentrated among citizens of Palestinian origin.
  2. Citizens of Jordanian origin fear the increasing number of citizens of Palestinian origin.
  3. Dual loyalty to citizens of Palestinian origin.
  4. Citizens of Palestinian origin do not appreciate the benefits they obtained as a result of their belonging to Jordan.

As for the points related to citizens of Palestinian origin:

  1. Concentration of public sector recruitment in favor of citizens of Jordanian origin.
  2. Failure to represent citizens of Palestinian origin in the government and parliament in proportion to their numbers within the Kingdom.
  3. Restricting sensitive jobs among citizens of Jordanian origin.
  4. The government apparatus favors citizens of Jordanian origin in various transactions.

In an attempt to study this situation that prevails in the country, there are those who blame the historical policies of the Jordanian state, which led not only to the state of polarization in the Jordanian and Palestinian sectors, but to the deepening of regional and clan ties, while others blame the policies of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its factions that It was based on an ideology essentially hostile to the Jordanian regime, employing the Palestinian collective memory, which prompted the regime to pursue “self-defense” policies by resorting to tools of framing and “censorship” that obscured institutionalism and efficiency as one of the most important factors and criteria upon which the modern state is based. .

Regardless of the obstacles that may appear during research and analysis, this relationship is exposed today to a number of obstacles and fears that hinder the fusion between the two parties. Jordanians inside Jordan fear the numerical increase in the Palestinian population, and thus the transformation of Jordan into Palestine or an extension of it. This fear is not only dependent on the natural increase in the population, but rather that the number of Palestinians will increase based on the expectation of major migrations that the Palestinians may be exposed to due to objective regional conditions. In the end result, these Jordanian migrations may turn into a mere minority in Jordan, and this may facilitate the consolidation of the idea of ​​an alternative homeland, with the Palestinians enjoying civil and political rights.

However, the issue of identity becomes more complicated when it relates to the concept of loyalty to the state, which was not raised during the unity state. Some attribute the reasons for the emergence of this complexity to the Palestinian resistance factions, after the 1967 war, to express clearly and forcefully the Palestinian political entity. This concept was further reinforced by the fact that some factions that had a significant relative influence on the street in Jordan were controlled by elements who did not live the experience of unity, nor did they realize its meanings, but rather lived and developed their political thought in the Gulf states or in the Gaza Strip. If dual loyalty to the state is one of the obstacles and one of the sources of fear, then the internal developments in Jordan, during the past few years, including the political détente in 1989, and the ruling position on the Gulf War, in addition to the phenomenon of the great popular reception that King Hussein received after his return from the medical trip In the United States, all factors laid the groundwork for a reassessment of the previous state’s positions more positively by the majority of Palestinians. The new situation was very similar to the situation that arose in the period between 1953-1957. Here, we affirm our belief that the Jordanian state did not seize these historical opportunities to start working on a radical solution to the internal dualism at that time.

In this context, we stress that the fears that Jordanians have regarding the issue of the growing population imbalance in favor of the Palestinians are serious concerns that can only be resolved by legislation within a unitary framework, and more clearly by agreeing in a transitional phase on a set of measures that help remove these fears.

On the other hand, some Palestinian citizens complain and stress the existence of discrimination against them within the Jordanian state, and one of its factors may be the state’s view of suspicion and mistrust towards them, given the concept of loyalty and belonging to them, in addition to the nature and emergence of the Jordanian state, which established a group of modern institutions on the basis of unrelated social structures. Modern tribal, sectarian, and regional basis. The state may have dedicated, during the last period, and within the “self-defense” policies, these social structures to derive from them the foundations for their stability and continuity, which has deepened some undemocratic or modern concepts such as the method of bestowals and gifts to citizens, and also deepened the concept of “personal factional” allegiances on the Calculation of a developed concept of loyalty that goes first towards the state as the embodiment of society.

The patterns of employment that resulted from the objective circumstances that prevailed in the period from 1967-1970, and were enshrined in the following years, became a source of mutual fear. The Palestinians point out that they are excluded from the higher bureaucratic jobs of the Jordanian state, and in particular the security services, which almost became exclusively for Jordanians, On the other hand, Jordanians complain that the economy has become a monopoly on the Palestinians, as the economic situation of the Palestinians who migrated to work in the Gulf market and then continued their free business in Jordan has become better than the economic situation of the Jordanians who continued to work, especially with the fluctuations that Jordan’s economy witnessed. This duality has become a pattern of employment, a basic phenomenon within Jordan, and a source of caution and mutual apprehension between Jordanians and Palestinians. The impression emerged that the former controls the bureaucratic apparatus, and the latter controls capital.

The entrance to the solution lies in maintaining unity, and completely abandoning practices that would deepen the internal imbalance. In order to get out of this thorny situation, and as a first step, we propose the following: Working on deepening democracy and pluralism as necessary frameworks towards modernizing the state and removing tensions, drawing on this from the historical experiences of this country. This, in turn, constitutes the initial entrance to lay the new ground in a new context, and puts an end to the imbalance in employment patterns in society, and thus citizenship and efficiency are among the objective criteria upon which the modern state is based, and this simply means opening the Jordanian state to all citizens, and opening opportunities for everyone who works It is for creativity and access to the highest functional peaks with sincerity and efficiency without standing in the way of any regional, sectarian or clan considerations.

This approach will contribute – to a large extent – to removing the fear that the public sector is closed to “Eastern Jordanians”, and that their joining government jobs has missed opportunities for them to migrate to the Gulf and raise funds. By directing an important part of public spending towards local environmental communities, it would help create new job opportunities, and over time, the national income would be redistributed in a more equitable manner. In this way, we have developed a solution to the bestowal policy and the followed gifts, dependency, mediations, exceptions and other practices. This will improve the performance of national institutions, which will have a positive impact on the quality and standard of life in Jordan, with its positive dimensions in eliminating the forms of discrimination that are the source of the complaint. It may be useful to implement the idea of ​​“affirmative action” in private sector institutions as a temporary and transitional measure.

The work here must be accompanied by an official and popular orientation to consolidate national unity, overcome obstacles, and always emphasize the objective and historical necessities of national unity. Romantic slogans º that is, a return to what was the situation in the past, or coercive monotheistic and monotheistic theories offer in the end solutions calling for the deepening of dualism no matter how good the intentions. Deepening the duality is something that harms society and the country, and here the media can play a key role in this issue by presenting things positively and objectively and not turning a blind eye to the facts. It can also deepen the positive context through educational, cultural, voluntary institutions, and other related activities.

Accordingly, the “pure” Palestinian dimension must be included in the discussion, and viewed away from slogans and ideological positions in a way that does not serve the Jordanian-Palestinian unity. And when we admit that there is a Palestinian dimension to the Jordanian identity, the Palestinian official body, on the other hand, must also acknowledge that there is a basic Jordanian dimension to the Palestinian entity, and that Jordanians and Palestinians in Jordan are concerned and affected on a daily basis by the developments taking place in the “pure” Palestinian community, hence the talk about indivisibility. The Palestinian people, and the search for new unitary frameworks. Unity constitutes the first starting point, and preserving it does not only mean protecting and improving the internal fabric and contributing to the progress of the country and raising the level of quality of life, but also a form of liquidating the effects of colonialism.

In conclusion, we say that the goal of this condensed paper is to follow up on the studies we are doing on the level of the Jordanian-Palestinian relationship and to contribute to the transfer of the national dialogue to an advanced stage. It contains opinions and ideas that may not be accepted in their entirety, and some of them may be unfamiliar, but we saw their proposal as an enrichment for serious dialogue. In this sensitive societal issue, this paper also aims to take the lead in discussing the Jordanian-Palestinian relationship with a focus on consensus, maintaining internal unity, and emphasizing that unity is not in a vacuum.

As we lay out this perception, we affirm that our contribution is an attempt to overcome the social, political, and intellectual problem that arose in special, perhaps exceptional circumstances, and to the same extent an attempt to present a vision for consolidating national unity in Jordan on the foundations of democracy, voluntary free choice, and political and intellectual pluralism. The values ​​of justice, efficiency, and citizenship.

The years of coexistence have historically established – actually and realistically – a social, cultural, and economic unity that is impossible to separate, despite all the painful stations that that relationship has gone through.