A delegation from the anti-imperialist collective Coup Pour Coup 31 (a member of the Samidoun Network) traveled to Jordan this summer in order to better understand the situation of Palestinian refugees in this country, as was done previously in Lebanon in 2015. It was also an opportunity to strengthen ties with the Jordanian campaign for the release of Georges Abdallah.

The following report is translated from the original French, at the Coup Pour Coup 31 website: http://www.couppourcoup31.com/2018/08/coup-pour-coup-31-a-la-rencontre-des-refugies-palestiniens-et-des-soutiens-a-georges-abdallah-en-jordanie.html

Key representing Right of Return at Baqa’a Refugee Camp. The key is oriented towards Al Quds / Jerusalem.

Quick history of the situation of Palestinian refugees in Jordan:

Jordan has been one of the main host countries of Palestinian refugees since 1948, with over 2 million registered refugees today.

The Jordanian government quickly gave Jordanian nationality to all Palestinian refugees between 1948 and 1950. However, Palestinians swiftly faced political, social and economic discrimination, as the demographic and economic weight of the new population was seen as a threat to the trans-Jordanian identity of the territory promoted by the regime. Also, in order for Jordan to not become “the new Palestine,” the state seeks to minimize the impact of Palestinians on the country.

When the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was created in 1964, tensions rose between the Palestinians and the reactionary Jordanian regime. The Jordanian defeat in 1967 against Israel and the loss of the West Bank fueled the inter-communal struggle, with Palestinians blaming the regime for not allowing the Palestinian population of the West Bank to defend themselves properly, a charge that adds to ongoing rancor over the past 20 years.

In 1968, Israel attacked Jordan, accusing it of beng a base for the fedayeen (Palestinian freedom fighters) to train and launch attacks against Israel.

In Jordan, Palestinians comprise two-thirds of the Jordanian population and their right to self-determination could lead to the end of the kingdom. The growing power of the Fedayeen, the actions and statements of the PFLP against the regime and the growing disregard of the Palestinian resistance for the Arab regimes led to the Jordanian regime declaring a real war against the Palestinians in Jordan.

For example, in September 1970, the Jordanian army began bombing refugee camps and buildings housing Palestinian organizations. After 10 days of shelling, the camps were razed and the organizations of the Palestinian revolution had to seek refuge in Lebanon. This was the first time in history that an Arab regime frontally attacked the Palestinian resistance. These events were named “Black September.”

The Jordanian regime is a reactionary regime that for decades has strengthened its policy of collaboration and normalization with Israel and the various imperialist powers, especially the United States. Today, an Israeli embassy is president in Amman, the Jordanian capital, and political and economic collaboration with Israel is on the rise. For example, a pipeline project between Jordan and Israel is being developed to carry Palestinian gas stolen by the Zionist state; Palestinian organizations are banned in Jordan; the Palestinian flag cannot even be flown in the windows of the refugees…

Palestinian refugees:

As part of our delegation to Jordan, we visited the Baqa’a Palestinian refugee camp. It is the largest refugee camp in the country with 260,000 inhabitants. All of the streets in the camp are named after Palestinian cities. Following the various disinvestments of donors to UNRWA (especially the USA), social services are increasingly restricted (public works, waste treatment, etc.)

We visited homes, a women’s association and the market as well as the medical office of the General Secretary of the Popular Democratic Unity Party (Wihda Party).

Finally, we visited the offices of the Wihda Party itself.

Mural in the offices of the Wihda Party

In Amman, the Wihda Party hosts seminars and classes for Palestinian refugee children. The classes transmit the history of the Palestinian people and their resistance through culture.

Children’s dance performance at the Wihda Party office

We attended a performance by the children. One dance represented the blockade of Gaza and the resistance struggling to bring it to an end, while another paid tribute to Palestinian martyrs. A theater scene portrayed the daily life of Palestinians occupation. Finally, the children danced Dabkeh, a traditional Palestinian dance.

Support for Georges Abdallah:

Our visit allowed us to transmit the revolutionary greetings of Georges Abdallah to the comrades in Jordan. The General Secretary of the Wihda Party also greeted Georges Abdallah on behalf of all of the members of the party.

The Wihda Party Youth responded to his greetings with a solidarity letter.

A Widha Party Youth Banner: “Long live the Palestinian Resistance / On the Path of Return and Liberation”.

We participated in a workshop and discussions with the Wihda Party Youth on the support campaign for Georges Abdallah, his legal situation and plans for future joint initiatives.

The workshop ended with a joint solidarity photo.

Solidarity photo after the workshop.

The Campaign for the Liberation of Georges Abdallah in JJordan has organized several initiatives in recent years, including rallies in front of the French Embassy. Through meetings, they expressed the desire to strengthen the campaign in Jordan.

Later, we paid tribute to George Habash in front of the tomb where he is buried in a Christain cemetery on the outskirts of Amman. Co-founder of the PFLP, he was a great theoretician of the Palestinian Revolution and a staunch supporter of a free and democratic Palestine from the river to the sea and the right of return of all Palestinian refugees.

Visiting the gravesite of George Habash

To pay tribute to him today is to pay homage to all of the martyrs fallen in the defense of Palestine, and, above all, to continue the struggle in which he engaged throughout his life.

Finally, we made photos in solidarity with Georges Abdallah at several historical sites in Jordan: Petra and the Roman amphitheater in Amman.