July 31: The Day a Million Palestinians Lost Their Citizenship
July 31 is a very big anniversary in Palestinian Arab history. Yet among all the anniversaries that Palestinians mark, I didn’t see anyone talking about this one.
On July 31, 1988, Jordan’s King Hussein announced that — at the PLO’s request — he was cutting all administrative and legal ties with Arabs who lived on the West Bank of the Jordan River.
With the stroke of a pen, more than a million Palestinians went from being Jordanian citizens to becoming citizens of nothing.
King Hussein, for his part, said that he was doing this for the Palestinians’ own good: “Our goal is the benefit of the Palestinian cause and the Arab Palestinian people.”
Rich and well-connected Palestinians managed to hold on to their citizenship, of course. Mahmoud Abbas is a Jordanian citizen, as are other top PA and Fatah officials.
There were about a million Arabs living in the West Bank in 1988.
July 31 is the anniversary of a million Palestinians suffering from a real disaster. But since it was done by Arab leaders, and supposedly for their own good, no one talks about it.