Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What Might We Call This

Jordan begins revoking the citizenship of its Palestinian residents. In some other countries (well at least one other country) this would be called ethnic cleansing. But since it isn't that one other country, it presumably will be largely ignored.

Now, as per above, I want to say that I generally don't like taking policy stands based on what other people would call other situations -- I think it's lazy and unilluminating. So do I think it's ethnic cleansing? I tend to reserve words like that for very extreme cases, so I say no. But that doesn't mean it isn't an extraordinarily serious human rights violation and a rather clear manifestation of anti-Palestinian racism.

The Jordanians are justifying the move by blaming Israel (of course), saying that they are acting to insure that Palestinians are able to return to their homes in the aftermath of a final peace agreement (there's also something in there about an Israeli "plot" to make Jordan a Palestinian state, though it is predictably scant on the details of how Israel could enact such a plan). I call bullshit. If they're talking about homes in a future Palestinian state, then that isn't affected one whit by whether they have Jordanian citizenship or not, anymore than my ability to move to Israel would be affected by me having American citizenship (and while I appreciate the opportunity to move to Israel, that's a decision for me to make, not for the American government to make for me by revoking my citizenship). But it seems as if the Jordanian government is talking at least in part about resettling the Palestinians in homes in Israel proper (aka, the "right of return"), in which case they are actively sabotaging the peace process by increasing the pressure for a demand that everyone knows Israel can't (and shouldn't have to) meet.

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