The Kingdom of Jordan began the process of revoking the Jordanian citizenship of about 30 Palestinian Authority and Fatah officials and their families, London-based Arabic language newspaper Raialyoum reported Wednesday.
The officials who are slated to lose their citizenship include Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and Palestinian Authority negotiator Ahmed Qurei (“Abu Ala”).
The also stated that there would be major changes in the visa arrangements for entry into Jordan of the senior officials, granting them only temporary visitor’s rights.
Many Senior Palestinian Authority and Fatah officials, including Abbas and his two sons, were given Jordanian citizenship over a decade ago, a Jordanian official disclosed in early 2011.
They received Jordanian passports despite the fact that, at the time, the authorities in Amman were revoking the Jordanian citizenship of thousands of other Palestinians in order to “consolidate their Palestinian identity,” as the Jordanian government justified the process then.
With a population of 9.5 million, out of which more than two million are Palestinian refugees, the Jordanians long saw the Palestinian majority in the kingdom as a demographic threat.
The Palestinian leaders were the ones who originally applied for the citizenship, they were not offered it by Jordan, an editorial in Al-Quds Al-Arabi explained after the disclosure of the Jordanian official in 2011.
“They were the ones who applied for it, and perhaps they had embarrassed senior Jordanian government officials with the requests,” it wrote.
The Jordanians were unable to reject the applications “out of courtesy and generosity,” the paper said.
The report did not disclose any information as to why Jordan decided to begin the process of revoking the Palestinian leaders’ citizenship now.
Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.