Given the apparently fervent support that Palestinians receive from fellow Arabs, it's natural to think that they are viewed heroically. Far from it: I have already written on the hostility endured by Palestinians in Lebanon and Iraq. Now, problems in Jordan have surfaced. My information comes from an article by the remarkable Khaled Abu Toameh of the Jerusalem Post.
Palestinians in Jordan, he reports, have heard that Jordanian government officials
are convinced that [Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman are secretly working toward turning Jordan into a Palestinian state. As a preemptive measure, the Jordanian authorities recently began revoking the citizenship of thousands of Palestinians, leaving many of them in a state of panic and uncertainty regarding the future. …
The new measure has increased tensions between Jordanians and Palestinians, who make up around 70 percent of the kingdom's population. The tensions reached their peak over the weekend when tens of thousands of fans of Jordan's Al-Faisali soccer team chanted slogans condemning Palestinians as traitors and collaborators with Israel. Al-Faisali was playing the rival Wihdat soccer team, made up of Jordanian-Palestinians, in the Jordanian town of Zarqa.
Anti-riot policemen had to interfere to stop the Jordanian fans from lynching the Wihdat team members and their fans, eyewitnesses reported. They said the Jordanian fans of Al-Faisali hurled empty bottles and fireworks at the Palestinian players and their supporters. Reports in a number of Jordanian newspapers said that the Jordanian fans also chanted anti-Palestinian slogans and cursed Palestine, the PLO, Jerusalem and the Aksa Mosque.
Comment: In the Middle East, as Kanan Makiya puts it, "Nothing is as it seems and nothing can be taken for granted." (July 20, 2009)