Mudar Zahran, a Jordanian Palestinian pro-democracy activist who is presently living in the United Kingdom as a political refugee, is one of the leaders of the Dignity Revolution that erupted on the Jordanian streets on November 15, 2012. The Dignity Revolution seeks to topple King Abdullah and replace him with a secular democratic leadership that will grant Jordan’s Palestinian majority civil and human rights. Zahran also happens to be a strong advocate that Jordan should be the future Palestinian state and supports peace with Israel.

Zahran asserted that the current Jordanian regime is engaging in apartheid policies against Jordan’s Palestinian civilians, by stripping Jordan’s Palestinians of their citizenship in order to have a bargaining chip against Israel. This has resulted in creating unnecessary tension between Jordan’s Bedouin ruling minority and Jordan’s Palestinian majority. According to Zahran, “The Hashemites regime, like all Arab regimes, works on our divisions to make us hate one another, creating bogus animosities between us. In order to make us hate each other for the last 40 years and therefore stay in power, the Jordanians of Palestinian origin were deprived” of their basic rights.

Zahran claimed that the present Jordanian leadership has done every thing in its power so that Palestinians would not feel at home in Jordan. This is highly problematic, since many Palestinians in Jordan have claimed that they would not be interested in a right of return to Israel if granted civil rights in Jordan. Zahran asserted, “The king is playing politics with his people’s basic rights. We have children who were pulled out of school and told ‘go home! You’re not Jordanian, you are Palestinian,’ because the government removed the father’s passport. […] This is a tragedy.”

Zahran has declared that the original purpose of Jordan was to be the Palestinian state and that to date; the Hashemite regime has not honored this. He believes that given the fact that Jordan has a Palestinian majority and that most Judea and Samaria Palestinians already have Jordanian passports that it is the most logical location for the existence of a Palestinian state. He believes that Judea and Samaria Palestinians should have the right to either join Jordan in a confederation, as recently suggested by Mahmoud Abbas, or to move to Jordan. Zahran declared, “The West-Bankers can call themselves Jordanians as much as I can call myself Palestinian.” Indeed, even Mahmoud Abbas has Jordanian citizenship.

Nevertheless, although he is open to having a confederation with Arab areas of Judea and Samaria, Zahran does recognize Israel’s right to exist, seeks that a Palestinian-dominated Jordan will peacefully coexist with Israel, and supports her right to secure borders. Zahran proclaimed, “I think good borders make good friends — the borders will be along the outskirts of the West Bank cities or on the Jordan river — as long as there is a responsible government in Jordan that realizes why, historically, Jordan, was created [i.e., to be a Palestinian Arab state], then everything will be fine.”

Zahran also believes that the Jordanian solution would be the best resolution to the Palestinian right of return issue, which to date has been the main obstacle to peace between Palestinians and Israelis. He claimed, “Approximately a million Palestinian refugees and their descendants live in Syria and Lebanon, with another 300,000 in Jordan whom the Hashemite government still refuses to accept as citizens. How much better could their future look if there were a welcoming Palestinian Jordan? The Jordanian option seems the best possible and most viable solution to date. […] It is time for the international community to adopt a more logical and less costly solution rather than to persist in long discredited misconceptions.”

By Rachel Avraham