'Transfer' of Palestinians into Jordan

Paul Flewers hatchet.job at virgin.net
Sun Sep 1 14:10:57 MDT 2002


List members will be interested in this posting I received from Moshé
Machover.

Paul F

+++++++++++++++++++

For some time now, I and several other commentators have warned that Sharon
is planning a major ethnic cleansing ("transfer") of the Palestinians from
the West Bank. Hundreds of thousands will be forced across the Jordan. Most
of the remaining ones will be moved to the Gaza Strip, which would be turned
into a latter-day Indian Reservation, or a huge concentration camp.

The Israeli military expert Martin van Creveld has predicted -- correctly in
my opinion -- that Israel would use a US attack against Iraq for a major
transfer operation (Sunday Telegraph 28.4.200).

All these scenarios envisage ethnic cleansing carried out using direct
physical force: bombardment of Palestinian villages, forcing the inhabitants
to flee for their lives (van Creveld); or herding masses of Palestinians
onto large trucks (lorries).

But direct physical force is the last resort. By making Palestinian daily
life unbearably miserable, many are encouraged to "choose" to leave. Most of
them no doubt regard this as a temporary measure, and mean to return when
the situation improves. But past experience tells us that Israel will not
allow them to return.

In this sense the "transfer"has already started. Since October
2000, over 200,000 new Palestinian refugees have moved into Jordan.

MM

Jerusalem Post   26 August 2002

80,000 Palestinians emigrated from territories since beginning of year

KHALED ABU TOAMEH

Approximately 80,000 Palestinians have left the West Bank and Gaza Strip
since the beginning of the year, a rise of 50 percent compared to last
year, a senior Palestinian Authority official said Monday.  The official,
who asked not to be named, told The Jerusalem Post another 50,000
Palestinians are now trying to leave through the Jordan River bridges and
the Rafah border crossing.

"We are seriously talking about transfer," the official added.  "We are
holding urgent deliberations with the brothers in Jordan and Egypt to try
to stop the influx."

He estimated that at least half of those who have already left would
eventually decide to settle in another country.  The figures, which do not
include Palestinian residents of Jerusalem who have Israeli-issued ID
cards, are based on data provided by several PA ministries, which issue
various travel documents for Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza
Strip.

Last week Bethlehem Mayor Hanna Nasser revealed in an interview with the
Post that about 1,000 Palestinians from his town had left the country over
the past few months.

Thousands of Palestinians have been camping in the open air outside
Jericho, waiting for their turn to cross the Allenby and Adam bridges into
Jordan.  Hundreds others are waiting near the Rafah border crossing.

According to the PA official, at one stage more than 40,000 would-be
entrants were gathered near Jericho.  Many of them have been waiting for
weeks after Jordan decided to limit the number of West Bank Palestinians
entering the Hashemite Kingdom.

The Jordanian authorities say they do not want to help Palestinians leave
their homes for fear Israel will not allow them back.  But Palestinians say
they believe the Jordanians are afraid a large number of Palestinians want
to live permanently in Jordan.

Under pressure from the PA and humanitarian organizations, some of which
have supplied the stranded Palestinian travelers with tents and food, the
Jordanian government earlier this month agreed to allow 1,000 people a day
to enter Jordan.

The move came after the Palestinians complained that Israel was preventing
them from returning to their homes in the West Bank.

A PA cabinet minister, who visited Jordan last month for talks with
Jordanian officials on the restrictions, said he could understand the
Jordanians' fears.  "They fear that [Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon wants to
expel the Palestinians to Jordan, where they would be able to establish a
substitute state," he told the Post yesterday.  "This is understandable."

The minister added that top Jordanian government officials told him Israel
could seize the opportunity during an American military strike on Iraq "to
try and get rid of as many Palestinians as possible."

One of the measures currently being applied by the Jordanian authorities
requires each Palestinian to deposit a sum of 1,000 Jordanian dinars
($1,400) to ensure that they do not settle in the kingdom.

Khaled Khatib, a leader of the Palestinian Democratic Union, an offshoot
the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, warned that tens of
thousands of Palestinians could be driven out of the West Bank and Gaza
Strip when the US launches a military offensive against Iraq.

"Israel might exploit the situation to mount a wide-scale military
operation to destroy the PA and expel tens of thousands of desperate
Palestinians," he said.  "But this plot will not succeed because our people
have learned from previous mistakes."

In 1991 Jordan opened its borders to tens of thousands of Palestinians
expelled from Kuwait and other Gulf states in retaliation for PA Chairman
Yasser Arafat's support for Saddam Hussein.

"No one is opposed to Palestinians visiting Jordan," said Jordanian writer
and columnist Fahed Fanek.  "But the fear is that many visitors do not want
to go back and are seeking a refuge, be it in Jordan, the United States,
Canada, Australia, or elsewhere."

"One cannot blame them as individuals, because life in the West Bank and
Gaza Strip is intolerable for both economic and security reasons," he
added.  "But we have a national duty to Jordan, first, and to Palestine,
second, to block gradual transfer and prevent the Palestinian state from
being relocated outside Palestine, specifically to
Jordan."


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