Ex-Gazans in Jordan: From Legal ‘Outsiders’ to Political ‘Outsiders’

 

Ex-Gazans in Jordan:
From Legal ‘Outsiders’ to Political ‘Outsiders’

Peter Ooi, Yale-NUS College ‘18

(Initially published in YNUJ Volume 3, 2018)


Abstract

The ex-Gazans in Jordan are a minority group of Palestinian refugees that rarely feature in academic literature. Despite facing systemic conditions of statelessness that are particular to them, their distinctive experiences are often rendered invisible in research which focuses on the Palestinian community in Jordan as a whole. This article examines how ex-Gazans construct their identities as Palestinians in view of their social and legal circumstances. Using interviews conducted with residents of Hussein camp and Jerash camp in Jordan, this article argues that the ex-Gazans’ experience of discrimination in Jordan is layered with pervasive reminders of an ‘outsider’ status that other Palestinians are not subject to. Their constructions of Palestinian identity consequently align with this ‘outsider’ status such that they avoid making political demands of their host state, Jordan. These findings problematize scholarly explanations given for Palestinian refugees’ apparent political apathy in Jordan, which neglect the distinction between Palestinians with Jordanian citizenship and stateless Palestinians.


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