Jordan's King Abdullah visits Palestinian refugee camp

Monarch tells residents of Hosn camp that the kingdom is firmly on their side

Children in the Al-Baqaa Palestinian refugee camp, near Amman. Reuters
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King Abdullah pledged Jordan's “firm” support for the Palestinian cause during a rare visit on Monday to a Palestinian refugee camp in the country, a day before the Arab League summit starts in Algeria.

The official Jordanian news agency said the king met residents of the Hosn camp in north Jordan and said that there will be “no retreat” in Jordanian support.

“As far as the Palestinian cause his majesty affirmed that there is no retreat in Jordan's firm position, as well as in continuous Jordanian-Palestinian co-ordination to defend legitimate Palestinian rights,” the agency said.

A large proportion of Jordan's 10 million population are of Palestinian origin and Jordanian authorities fear that Israeli pressure on the Palestinians under occupation in the West Bank and East Jerusalem could prompt more Palestinians to flee to Jordan.

Jordan has also been wary of what it sees as diminished international attention on the Palestinian issue, and an Arab focus in the last two years on normalisation deals with Israel.

An Arab League summit, due to convene in Algeria on Tuesday, is expected to discuss Israeli transgressions against the Palestinians as well as other issues. Official media said on Sunday that the king will be sending his son, Crown Prince Hussein, to represent him at the summit.

The king said that Jordan “continues to protect the Islamic and Christian holy places in Jerusalem,” referring to a Jordanian claim of custodianship over holy places in Jerusalem that dates back to the 1920s.

He said Jordan is in contact with the United Nations and friendly countries to deal with financing shortages for UN aid operations in 10 Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan.

The aid is administered by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

About 2 million Palestinians are registered as refugees with the UNRWA in Jordan, but the number of people of Palestinian origin in the kingdom is widely believed to be much higher.

UNRWA says that most of those 2 million Palestinian refugees have full Jordanian citizenship, with 18 per cent of them living in 10 recognised Palestine refugee camps in the kingdom.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Al Safadi said on Sunday that Jordan hopes that the summit in Algeria will “strengthen the Arab consensus and continue the united work to serve Arab causes and interests.”

Updated: October 31, 2022, 4:59 PM