The number of UNRWA-registered Palestinian refugees in Jordan stood at 1,358,706 in 1996, and Jordan estimated that another 800,000 Palestinian "displaced persons" were residing in Jordan. Palestinians constitute more than half of Jordan's total population. Although up to 60,000 Iraqis live in Jordan, they are rarely recognized as refugees. Palestinians Palestinians in Jordan registered as refugees by UNRWA represented 41 percent of the total number of UNRWA-registered refugees in 1996. They appeared to be the most secure economically and legally of any of the Palestinian refugees in the areas of UNRWA operation in 1996. Due to UNRWA's budgetary difficulties, however, there was a marked deterioration in health and educational services. On the positive side, hardship cases represented only 2.5 percent of the UNRWA-registered refugees in Jordan, the lowest percentage of any of the areas of UNRWA operation. Jordan also boasted the lowest percentage of Palestinian refugees living in camps. Although Jordan maintained ten camps that sheltered 258,204 refugees during the year, 81 percent of the registered refugees in Jordan lived outside camps. The Jordanian government unofficially estimates that it hosts 800,000 Palestinians displaced because of the 1967 War. The government called the 1967 arrivals "displaced persons" rather than refugees because, at that time, Jordan claimed sovereignty on both the east and west banks of the Jordan River. Currently, Israel, Egypt, the Palestine Liberation Organization, and Jordan have established a technical committee and a ministerial committee to discuss repatriation issues concerning those displaced since 1967. In addition to the waves of refugees absorbed in 1948 and 1967, Jordan experienced a major influx during and after the Gulf War of 1991 of about 360,000 Palestinians from Kuwait, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and other Gulf states, of whom about 300,000 remained in Jordan. (About 30,000 to 40,000 who held valid Israeli-issued documents traveled to the West Bank. The remainder moved on to Canada, Australia, and other countries outside the region.) Since the overwhelming majority of the 1991 arrivals already possessed Jordanian travel documents, they do not represent a separate legal category, but are categorized according to their (or their ancestors') original refugee departure stemming from 1948 or 1967. Unique Legal Position Palestinian refugees in Jordan have a unique legal position. Unlike the other states hosting Palestinians within the UNRWA mandate area, many Palestinians in Jordan have full citizenship rights, including the right to vote. UNRWA defines Palestinian refugees as persons, and their descendants, who resided in Palestine two years prior to the outbreak of hostilities in 1948, who lost their homes and their livelihoods as a result of the conflict. UN General Assembly Resolution 194 recognizes only repatriation or compensation as permanent solutions to the Palestinian refugee problem. Citizenship in another country, therefore, does not terminate refugee status as it would for other refugee groups covered by the UN Refugee Convention and Protocol. The UN Refugee Convention excludes Palestinians who were already within UNRWA's mandate in 1951. In effect, this means that UNHCR does not concern itself with (or count) Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, or the West Bank and Gaza Strip, although it may assist Palestinian refugees outside the UNRWA mandate area. UNRWA does not specifically track the number of refugees in Jordan who have Jordanian citizenship, which it considers to be irrelevant to its mandate. In general, Palestinian refugees with Jordanian citizenship are treated equally with other Jordanian citizens. Palestinians not only vote in elections, but some hold public office. Five of Jordan's 31 cabinet ministers in 1996 were of Palestinian origin, as were nine of the country's 40 senators. However, these figures under-represent Palestinian numerical strength, which has grown to become an outright majority of the total Jordanian population. Jordan does not offer citizenship to those Palestinians who originated in the Gaza Strip, over which Jordan never claimed sovereignty. Instead, Jordan issues them two-year passports carrying a stamp indicating that the holder is originally from Gaza, and entered Jordan in 1967. They are not allowed to vote or to hold public-sector jobs. When the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Gaza began issuing Palestinian passports in 1995, Jordan announced that it would not allow Jordanian Palestinians to carry Palestinian passports or to hold dual nationality, saying that the Arab League bars dual Arab nationality. During 1996, the Jordanian policy with respect to Palestinian Authority passport holders was not entirely clear. Although Jordan had revoked or refused to renew the passports of some 30,000 Palestinians who had obtained Palestinian passports, the interior ministry appeared to be prepared to reinstate those passports. Prior to1996, Jordan issued two-year passports to Palestinians who were resident in the West Bank when Jordan renounced all legal ties to the West Bank in 1988. That passport allowed Palestinians to travel internationally but did not grant them Jordanian residency rights. When entering Jordan from the West Bank, two-year passport holders were issued green cards. During 1996, however, Jordan began issuing five-year passports to Palestinians, but reiterated that they were for travel purposes only, and did not connote nationality. By year's end, about 300,000 such passports had been issued. Jordan indicated it would continue issuing passports until 1997, when it would re-evaluate its policy. UNRWA Budget Deficit In part due to UNRWA's severe and prolonged budget deficit, the Jordanian government increased its share of the costs of caring for refugees, spending nearly three times more than UNRWA on refugee services in 1996. Although the number of registered refugees in Jordan increased by 5.5 percent over the previous year, the number of students enrolled in UNRWA schools declined by 1.3 percent during the same time. The decline resulted, in part, from students transferring from UNRWA schools to Jordanian government schools, which generally had smaller student-teacher ratios, shorter school weeks, and better facilities. Children remaining in UNRWA schools almost always experienced overcrowding, inferior facilities, and no extracurricular activities because 92 percent of UNRWA schools in Jordan operated on double shifts. On the positive side, UNRWA replaced all of its prefabricated classrooms, many of which had been in poor condition. UNRWA health care provision was similarly strained; doctors at UNRWA clinics saw an average of 107 patients per day, the highest number in any of the UNRWA fields of operation. Budget constraints prevented UNRWA from keeping pace with the demand for refugee health services. Although Jordanians rioted in several southern towns in August after the government raised the price of bread by 300 percent, Palestinians remained quiet. Nevertheless, in the aftermath of a meeting of UNRWA donors in December in which $133 million was pledged out of a 1997 budget of $352 million, the heir apparent, Jordanian Crown Prince Hassan, warned that any reduction of services to Palestinian refugees due to UNRWA budget shortfalls would be a "red flag" raising the specter of further social distress. Jordan and Israel took an important step toward improving the chances for free movement of people and goods between the countries on January 16, 1996, when they signed an Israel-Jordan Transportation Treaty. On June 9, the treaty began to bear fruit, as the first bus line opened, directly connecting Jordan and Israel. Non-Palestinian Refugees UNHCR recognized 856 persons as refugees during 1996 and registered another 2,968 asylum seekers during the year. Their principal countries of origin were Iraq, Bosnia, Russia, Somalia, and Egypt. UNHCR estimated 60 percent of its caseload to be female and 10 percent under five years of age. During the first eleven months of the year, UNHCR helped 71 Bosnians to repatriate. The agency similarly assisted 32 Eritreans, 10 Armenians, and one Somali to repatriate. Another 470 refugees were resettled from Jordan during the year. Iraqis In March, the Jordanian information minister estimated that 50,000 to 60,000 Iraqis live in Jordan, but did not venture to say how many might be refugees. He did, however, attribute their presence to "wretched conditions" in Iraq. Many Iraqis fearing persecution in Iraq are believed to slip across the border into Jordan, where they remain without status or seek to move on to other countries. The Jordanian government reportedly requested Baghdad to instruct its border guards not to fire on fleeing Iraqi citizens, particularly deserting Iraqi soldiers, after they had crossed into Jordanian territory. In February, two prominent Iraqi defectors ended their seven-month exile in Jordan, only to be shot down several days after returning. The two sons-in-law of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, Hussein Kamel Hassan Majeed, chief of Baghdad's secret weapons programs, and his brother, Saddam Kamel, had attempted unsuccessfully to rally other Iraqi political exiles around themselves. They were not able to overcome their own close association with Saddam, however, nor the blood on Hussein Kamel's own hands as the executioner of the chemical attacks on Halabjah and other Kurdish villages in 1988 and the crushing of the Shi'ite uprising in southern Iraq in 1991. Although the two were hosted by King Hussein, his welcome grew increasingly frosty with each passing month. Knowing he was no longer welcome, Hussein Kamel tried at first to leave for Syria, but King Hussein reportedly said that his wife and children would have to remain behind. Instead, he decided to return home. Ironically, his wife denounced and divorced him upon return shortly before he was killed by relatives, apparently with the blessing of Saddam Hussein. Upon learning of the killings, King Hussein said, "I am disgusted by what has happened." On March 20, another high-ranking Iraqi military figure, the former chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Nizar Khazraji, defected to Jordan via the Kurdish zone in northern Iraq. n

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