Report: Jordan to strip citizenship from Abbas, other Palestinian officials

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is among those set to lose their Jordanian passports.

By: Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Some of the most senior and well-known leaders of the Palestinian Authority (PA) are set to lose their Jordanian citizenship, according to a Jerusalem Post report quoting the London-based Raialyoum newspaper on Wednesday.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas and long-time PA negotiators Saeb Erekat and Abu Ala are three of the approximately 30 senior PA and Fatah officials and their families who are going to lose their citizenship rights, which they had requested – and received – many years ago.

The report added that those stripped of citizenship would also only be given temporary visitors’ visas when they entered Jordan again in the future. It gave no explanation as to why King Abdullah II decided to make this move now.

It has been known for years that these senior officials had Jordanian citizenship, although the fact did not sit well with many in Amman or the PA. It seemed especially egregious in 2011, when the Hashemite Kingdom decided to revoke the citizenship of tens of thousands of Palestinians in response to those same leaders who wanted them to stop giving out Jordanian citizenship so that the people would “consolidate their Palestinian identity,” as reported in the press at the time.

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In an editorial, the Al-Quds Al-Arabi publication criticized those Palestinian leaders harshly.

“This is shameful for them because they and their families should be proud of their Palestinian citizenship,” the paper wrote. “If they don’t believe in their own citizenship and are not proud of it, this means that they are not loyal to the Palestinian Authority and don’t deserve to speak on its behalf.”

That same year, a Jordanian lawyer, Anis F. Kassim revealed in an interview with a pro-Palestinian website that according to the Jordanian citizenship law, “it is possible to revoke the citizenship of a Jordanian citizen who is in the civil service of a foreign authority or government.” However, there are several rounds of decision-making, and the citizen has the right of appeal, all of which, he said, were “completely ignored when the citizenship of a Jordanian of Palestinian origin is revoked.”

The most well-known revocation of Palestinian Arabs’ citizenship was in 1988, when King Hussein officially surrendered Jordan’s claim to sovereignty over Judea and Samaria. Jordan had illegally annexed the area in 1950 and granted citizenship to all its permanent Arab residents. Twenty-one years after losing the territory to Israel in 1967’s Six Day War, Hussein recognized the PLO’s claim to the region as part of a so-called “State of Palestine,” and in that move stripped over 100,00 Arab inhabitants of any claim to Jordanian nationality.