February 1, 2010

II. International and Jordanian Law

International law

Right to nationality

International law gives every person the right to a nationality. Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stipulates, "Everybody has the right to a nationality."[19] Article 24 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and article 7 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) also affirm, "Every child shall have the right to acquire a nationality."[20]

Like international law, the 2004 Arab Charter for Human Rights, which came into force on March 15, 2008, following ratification by seven Arab League member states, including Jordan, recognizes "the right to nationality" but does not specify how nationality is acquired.[21] The American Convention on Human Rights and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child are clearer in that a person acquires the nationality of the territory in which she is born unless she has claims to another nationality.[22] In one of the leading cases on the right to a nationality, The Yean and Bosico Children v. Dominican Republic, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights recognized the "inherent right" of all human beings to a nationality and stated,

The determination of who has a right to be a national continues to fall within a State's domestic jurisdiction. However, its discretional authority in this regard is gradually being restricted with the evolution of international law, in order to ensure a better protection of the individual in the face of arbitrary acts of States. Thus, at the current stage of the development of international human rights law, this authority of the States is limited, on the one hand, by their obligation to provide individuals with the equal and effective protection of the law and, on the other hand, by their obligation to prevent, avoid and reduce statelessness.
... The Court considers that the peremptory legal principle of the equal and effective protection of the law and non-discrimination determines that, when regulating mechanisms for granting nationality, States must abstain from producing regulations that are discriminatory or have discriminatory effects on certain groups of population when exercising their rights. Moreover, States must combat discriminatory practices at all levels, particularly in public bodies and, finally, must adopt the affirmative measures needed to ensure the effective right to equal protection for all individuals.[23]

While issues of nationality are primarily within each state's jurisdiction, a state's laws must be in accord with general principles of international law.[24] Nationality, according to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), is "a legal bond having as its basis a social fact of attachment, a genuine connection of existence, interests and sentiments."[25] The court first articulated criteria for defining an individual's nationality in the Nottebohm case, which gives "preference to the real and effective nationality, that which accord[s] with the facts, that based on stronger factual ties between the person concerned and one of these States whose nationality is involved." A "genuine and effective link," as the "real and effective nationality" has been termed, is determined by considering factors originally set out by the ICJ, including the "habitual residence of the individual concerned but also the centre of interests, his family ties, his participation in family life, attachment shown by him for a given country and inculcated in his children, etc."[26] States are required by international standards described below to avoid acts that would render stateless anyone who has a genuine and effective link to that state.

Although international law does not specify the conditions necessary to acquire a state's nationality, it is clear that "[n]o one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality,"[27] such as through the use of procedures that have no basis in law, or according to laws that discriminate arbitrarily or do not allow a fair procedure and hearing. This test of arbitrariness is important for determining whether Jordanian authorities are acting in accordance with human rights law by withdrawing nationality from Jordanians of Palestinian origin.

Prevention of statelessness

In addition to the prohibition on arbitrary deprivation of nationality, the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness provides additional guidance on situations in which nationality must not be withdrawn: states must not "deprive a person of his nationality if such deprivation would render him stateless."[28] To the contrary, article 1 of the convention stipulates that a state "shall grant its nationality to a person born in its territory who would otherwise be stateless."[29] The convention also declares that states must not "deprive any person or group of persons of their nationality on racial, ethnic, religious or political grounds" and that a "transfer of territory shall include provisions designed to ensure that no person shall become stateless as a result of the transfer."[30] Jordan has not yet acceded to this convention. It is, however, a party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which requires it to "respect the right of the child to preserve his or her identity, including nationality."[31]

Jordanians of Palestinian origin whose nationality is withdrawn become stateless because, under international law, Palestine in 2009 is not a state and has not been one at any time since Jordan's independence.[32]

Economic and Social Rights

Most people take their nationality for granted. Nationality, however, is an essential right and the basis for the enjoyment of other rights. Non-citizens may not have the same rights as nationals living in the same country.[33] Non-citizens are commonly prevented from participating as voters or candidates in public life, and have no permanent right to stay in a country other than that of their nationality.

Nationality is thus a foundational right for travel, establishing residence, and for participating in public life. Many states limit access to other rights on the basis of nationality, such as access to health, non-compulsory education, work, or property. In many countries, foreign residents may not enjoy more than emergency healthcare, or be entitled to secondary or university education, and may not enjoy the same access to work opportunities, or have the ability to own and sell property.

Jordan is a party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which spell out the right to education and health in articles 13 and 12 (ICESCR), and articles 28 and 24 (CRC), respectively, and the right to work in article 7 (ICESCR). Article 17 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes that "[e]veryone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others."[34] "The ICESCR and the CRC prohibit discrimination on the basis of national origin in the exercise of these rights.[35] Moreover, Jordan is also a party to the Convention Against Discrimination in Education, under which states specifically agree "[t]o give foreign nationals resident within their territory the same access to education as that given to their own nationals."[36]

UN human rights bodies have also made clear that there must be no discrimination between spouses "in respect of the acquisition or loss of nationality by reason of marriage."[37] International law also protects children against arbitrary interference in his or her family.[38] The CRC contains a specific prohibition against separating a child from his family, as could occur when a father loses his Jordanian nationality, and is deported to the West Bank:

States Parties shall ensure that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will, except when competent authorities subject to judicial review determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures, that such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child.[39]

Jordanian law

Nationality law

Jordan's constitution, in article 5, mandates that nationality be defined by law.[40] Since independence in 1946, Jordan has passed laws to regulate acquisition and loss of its nationality. The 1954 Law on Nationality, amended several times through 1987, grants nationality to all persons born of a Jordanian father and to all persons born of a Jordanian mother and a stateless father. A child whose father acquires non-Jordanian nationality remains Jordanian under the law.[41] It is therefore a violation of domestic law for Jordan to withdraw Jordanian nationality from the children in consequence of withdrawing it from their Palestinian-origin father.

The law gives nationality to all Palestinians resident in Jordan between December 20, 1949, and the issuance of the law in 1954, as long as they were not Jewish[42] (the law superseded a 1928 Law on Nationality, which had been amended effective from December 20, 1949, to include Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem[43]). As noted above, Jordan extended its sovereignty, and consequently all applicable domestic law, to the West Bank and East Jerusalem in April 1950.

Jordan's law prescribes narrow circumstances for losing one's nationality. Entering the "service of an enemy state," or the "military," or "civil service of a foreign state" are grounds for revoking nationality. However, in the case of foreign military and civil service, Jordan must give the person concerned warning to leave the other state's service and he or she must have refused to do so before losing Jordanian nationality.

1988 disengagement

In his speech on July 31, 1988, King Hussein announced the severance of Jordan's administrative and legal ties to the West Bank, relinquishing claims to Jordanian sovereignty there. Jordan has not passed any law on the details of the disengagement.[44]

Two days before the king's disengagement speech, the Ministry of Interior had issued disengagement instructions comprising 22 articles. Article 2 of the instructions provides for withdrawal of Jordanian nationality from residents of the West Bank: "Every person residing in the West Bank before the date of 31/7/1988 will be considered as [a] Palestinian citizen and not as Jordanian."[45] In his speech King Hussein stressed that disengagement "naturally do[es] not relate in any way to the Jordanian citizens of Palestinian origin in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. They have the full rights of citizenship and all its obligations, the same as any other citizen irrespective of his origin."[46]

In this report, Human Rights Watch does not address the legality of the 1988 announcement of Jordan's disengagement from the West Bank that turned approximately one million Jordanians living in the West Bank into stateless Palestinians.[47] Instead, we document the ongoing and current withdrawal of Jordanian nationality from Jordanians of Palestinian origin living in Jordan.

Kuwait returnees 1990-91

The disengagement instructions did not explicitly address the question whether Jordanians of Palestinian origin residing outside the kingdom (or the West Bank) at the time of disengagement remain Jordanians. This question affects in particular the estimated 250,000 Jordanians of Palestinian origin who returned to Jordan during Iraq's occupation of Kuwait in 1990 or shortly after its end in February 1991.[48]

Barring explicit language to the contrary, holders of Jordanian passports living outside Jordan (and outside the West Bank) in July 1988 might reasonably be considered Jordanian, since there is no legal basis for withdrawing their nationality. The case is particularly strong for those who resided abroad-that is, who were not absent temporarily from their permanent residence in the West Bank.

Jordan's High Court of Justice in a 1990 decision affirmed that it considered permanent residence in the West Bank at the time the disengagement instructions were issued as the decisive criterion for establishing the right of Jordanian nationality. The court rejected the petition by a Palestinian woman whom the Jordanian authorities had deported from Jordan to the West Bank in 1989. The judges found invalid her claim that she was a Jordanian citizen and thus had a right to reside in Amman, because "she permanently lived and resided [in the West Bank] before 31.7.1988," and had come to Jordan only thereafter.[49]

The question of whether those living outside Jordan and the West Bank on July 31, 1988, and who have returned since to Jordan retain Jordanian nationality remains ambiguous in practice. In a July 2009 Jordan Times article relying on parliamentary sources visiting the Ministry of Interior to discuss withdrawal of nationality, journalist Khetam Malkawi wrote that "other [Palestinians] in the diaspora with Jordanian passports were considered Jordanian" under the disengagement instructions.[50] Writing in 1991, Ann Lesch equally concluded that Jordanians of Palestinian origin could return from Kuwait to Jordan if they held five-year passports. She distinguishes these "Jordanians/Palestinians" from Palestinians holding a temporary two-year Jordanian passport as a travel document that does not convey nationality:

Those who have five-year Jordanian passports can move to Jordan ... Palestinians who have two-year Jordanian passports, indicating that they came from the West Bank, may be refused admission to Amman.[51]

Ministry of Interior Spokesperson Ziyad al-Zu'bi, however, told Ammonnews.net on July 18, 2009, that "every person residing in the West Bank before 13 [sic] July 1988 is considered to be a Palestinian national, and not a Jordanian, including those Palestinians present in the kingdom [of Jordan] or outside holding green bridge cards."[52] At least Jordanians of Palestinian origin holding a yellow card or no card would presumably be considered Jordanian, although no Jordanian law or regulation known to Human Rights Watch conditions nationality on holding either a green or yellow card.

To assess the ongoing withdrawal of Jordanian nationality, two more issues merit discussion: the legality of Jordanians holding dual nationality, and the color-coded system of bridge crossing cards Jordan issues to persons from the West Bank as a condition of nationality.

Dual nationality and the Arab League

In January 1954 the League or Arab States' political committee decided to grant Palestinian refugees in camps "unified travel passports," but indicated that dual Arab nationality was to be avoided: "if they have the freedom to choose the Arab state that grants them these passports, then this State must inform the other Arab states thereof to prevent duality [of nationality]."[53] That same year, however, Jordan passed its own Law on Nationality whose article 17 specifically allows Jordanians to acquire another nationality.[54] To acquire Jordanian nationality, however, applicants must forfeit their old nationality.[55] A 1969 decision of the League of Arab States suggests that a prohibition of duality of Arab nationalities does not include the stateless Palestinians: "the acquisition of some Palestinians of another nationality does not deprive them of their Palestinian nationality."[56] Abbas Shiblak, an academic expert on the residency rights of Palestinian refugees and former League of Arab States director-general of the Office of Palestinian Affairs, attributes this change of policy to a growing "specific Palestinian national identity" at the time.[57] At a meeting at the Ministry of Interior in Jordan in April 2009, human rights officials there presented Human Rights Watch with conflicting views. One said dual Arab nationality was prohibited for Jordanians, while another said he knew Jordanians with dual Syrian-Jordanian, and, in another case, Qatari-Jordanian nationality.[58] According to Shiblak, today the "PLO would no longer stand against any Arab government willing to grant citizenship to Palestinian residents."[59]

Given the clear possibility in Jordan's Law on Nationality for Jordanians to acquire another nationality, and given the evolution of League of Arab States and PLO positions toward dual Arab nationalities, including holding Palestinian "nationality" together with that of an Arab state in particular, there appear to be no grounds for denying Palestinians who became Jordanian through incorporation of the West Bank into Jordan in 1950 their Jordanian nationality on grounds of dual (Arab) nationality.

Palestine is not, under international law, a sovereign state that can bestow citizenship on Palestinians. Residents of the West Bank who left before 1950 are stateless, provided they did not acquire another nationality, as are all Palestinian West Bank residents after 1988.

Bridge crossing cards and Israeli permits

Another issue that is unclear under Jordanian law is whether the conditions for holding Jordanian nationality include holding certain Jordanian bridge crossing cards and certain Israeli permits. On June 1, 1983, Jordan created a system of yellow and green cards for its nationals of West Bank origin, issued at the Allenby bridge crossing over the Jordan River. Since negotiations over the Oslo accords between Israel and the Palestinians commenced in 1993, Jordan has based decisions on which cards to issue also on the permission Israel grants to West Bankers to maintain a right to residence there.

Jordanian authorities issued yellow cards to Jordanians of West Bank Palestinian origin residing on the East Bank, and green cards to residents of the West Bank. These cards were designed to facilitate the movement of people from the Israeli-occupied West Bank to Jordan's East Bank (with a green card), and to allow Palestinian-origin East Bankers to visit the West Bank (yellow card).[60]

Jordan's bridge crossing card system for Palestinian-origin East Bankers and West Bankers did not legally connote gradations in citizenship rights granted to its holders. Jordan's nationality law does not condition holding or maintaining Jordanian nationality on obtaining one color-coded card or the other, or residence in a particular area under Jordanian sovereignty.

In practice, however, the color-coded cards already introduced conditional Jordanian nationality. Green card holders lost their rights to full citizenship, including the right to reside on the East Bank. The Palestine Yearbook of International Law 2000/2001 notes,

In 1983, the Jordanian government created a dual system: yellow cards, which represented full residency and full citizenship rights for persons who had left the West Bank for the East Bank before June 1 of that year; and green cards, providing a renewable two-year Jordanian "passport" and no right of residence for those who left the West Bank after June 1, 1983.[61]

The Palestinian human rights group BADIL, in 2004, also noted that these cards had implications for the extent of citizenship rights for Jordanians of Palestinian origin in the East and West Banks: "Palestinians who were living in [the East Bank of] Jordan at that date and who had obtained full residency and full citizenship ('family book') were, therefore, entitled to a yellow card."[62]

Yusif Dawudiya, a former UN official whose nationality was withdrawn, explained the situation to Human Rights watch:

The rule was that if you have an Israeli identity number before June 30 [sic], 1983, the date of the PLO-Jordanian accords, you are entitled to a yellow [sic] card.[63] Until 1983 passports were the proof of nationality. In 1983 the Jordanians introduced the family book and in 1992 they introduced the national number as proof of nationality.[64]

The introduction of this system created two-tiers of citizenship rights among two groups of Jordanian nationals whom Jordanian law still formally considered its nationals and citizens with equal rights. This change to differentiated citizenship rights did not happen overnight, though. BADIL in 2007 noted,

In the West Bank, Palestinians – including 1948 refugees – held the same status as Jordanian citizens vis-à-vis Jordan. This situation began to change gradually in 1983, with the introduction of the dual (yellow/green) card system in Jordan and was drastically revised in 1988, when King Hussein renounced his claim of  sovereignty over the West Bank and severed Jordan's legal ties therewith.[65]

After Jordan's disengagement from the West Bank in July 1988, holders of green cards were considered Palestinians and not Jordanians. This was despite the fact that the disengagement instructions only withdrew Jordanian nationality from those persons who on July 31, 1988, resided in the West Bank, but not, for example, Jordanians of West Bank origin with green cards who had been living for some time, and were presently residing, in the East Bank or abroad.

Israeli-issued residency permits

Israel conducted a census in September 1967 of persons in the occupied West Bank.[66] West Bank residents who had fled in 1967, or were outside the West Bank at the time for other reasons, were not included. Israel granted only those registered in the census the right to residency in the West Bank.[67]

West Bankers outside the occupied territory at the time of the census could only gain residency rights in the West Bank through a family unification (lamm shaml) procedure. Israel has changed eligibility for family unification over the years and by 1992 had allowed fewer than 20,000 persons to gain residency rights in the West Bank.[68] Article 74, a Palestinian rights organization, summarized these changes in restrictions thus:

Originally, any family member [in the West Bank] could apply to have a person outside the country brought in. Later, the categories were narrowed. Only what Israeli law calls "first degree" relatives were allowed to apply: parents, spouses, siblings, and children. Still later, only spouses were permitted. By the mid-1980s, only husbands were permitted to apply for wives.[69]

Between 1967 and 1999, Israel revoked the residency status of more than 100,000 Palestinians in the occupied territories.[70]  Between 1967 and 1995, any Palestinian who moved to the West Bank and was classified as resident alien did not obtain guaranteed residency until the Oslo agreements provided Palestinian inhabitants of the occupied territories residency status. These agreements excluded inhabitants of occupied East Jerusalem. Israel retained the authority to make the final determination on requests for permanent residency through family reunification by those Palestinians not registered in the 1967 Israeli census.[71] Israel continues to control the Palestinian population registry, and issues all identity cards, birth certificates, and travel documents for residents of those territories under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority.[72]

Roughly 55,000 Palestinians entered the West Bank and Gaza Strip after the 1993 interim Oslo peace accords but did not obtain recognized residency status. Many applied for residency on the basis of family reunification, but Israel suspended family reunifications with the outbreak of the second intifada in September 2000.[73] As of October 2005 Israel had refused to process more than 120,000 requests for family unification that West Bank and Gaza residents had submitted for their family members living outside or without residency status within the occupied territories.[74] In October 2007 Israel reportedly granted official residency status to 3,500 Palestinians who in the prior decade entered the West Bank on Israeli-issued visitors' visas but never left. (Israel did not grant residency to 1,500 Palestinians in an analogous situation in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.)[75] 

Israel now permits Palestinians who leave the West Bank via the Allenby bridge to Jordan to stay abroad for three years without revoking their West Bank residency, but cancels their West Bank residency if they stay abroad longer than three years.[76] In 2005 the Supreme Court upheld the expulsion to Jordan, as an "infiltrator," of a man born in the West Bank who had lost his residency rights by moving to Jordan.[77]

Israeli control over the West Bank is vested in the military commander of the territory, whose military orders (and the regulations issued by the Civil Administration to which he has delegated authority) have the force of law but are subject to judicial review.[78]

Human Rights Watch could not determine with sufficient clarity the history of rules for Israeli residency permits granted. For example, Israeli authorities stamped on the residency card of a Jordanian of Palestinian origin who left the West Bank in August 1980 that his "Return is Not Permitted Before March 1, 1981," but the basis for that conditional right of return remained unclear. He renewed this residency permit as required by Israeli authorities every year, but, in 1983, its validity was extended from one to three years, again without any clarity in the applicable rules.[79]

An Israeli military order of September 1987 prohibited registering children born in the West Bank on the father's Israeli-issued identity card, if the mother lacked a valid Israeli-issued residency permit, even if the father was a legal resident.[80] In May 1989, June 1990, and July 1991 Israel reportedly deported persons who were in the West Bank without valid residency, tearing families apart.[81]

Given the vague, changeable, and apparently unknowable criteria that Israel has applied to granting residency to persons from the West Bank, for Jordan to use these criteria, issued by another country, as the basis for the maintenance of Jordanian nationality is arbitrary.

[19] Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), adopted December 10, 1948, G.A. Res. 217A(III), U.N. Doc. A/810 at 71 (1948), art. 15.

[20] International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), adopted December 16, 1966, G.A. Res. 2200A (XXI), 21 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 16) at 52, U.N. Doc. A/6316 (1966), 999 U.N.T.S. 171, entered into force March 23, 1976, art. 24. Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), G.A. res. 44/25, annex, 44 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 49) at 167, U.N. Doc. A/44/49 (1989), entered into force September 2, 1990, art. 7.

[21] League of Arab States, Arab Charter for Human Rights, May 22, 2004, reprinted in 12 Int'l Hum. Rts. Rep. 893 (2005), entered into force March 15, 2008, art. 29.

[22]American Convention on Human Rights ("Pact of San José, Costa Rica"), adopted November 22, 1969, O.A.S. Treaty Series No. 36, 1144 U.N.T.S. 123, entered into force July 18, 1978, reprinted in Basic Documents Pertaining to Human Rights in the Inter-American System, OEA/Ser.L.V/II.82 doc.6 rev.1 at 25 (1992), art. 20.2: "Every person has the right to the nationality of the state in whose territory he was born if he does not have the right to any other nationality." African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, OAU Doc. CAB/LEG/24.9/49 (1990), entered into force November 29, 1999, art. 6.4: "States Parties to the present Charter shall undertake to ensure that their Constitutional legislation recognize the principles according to which a child shall acquire the nationality of the State in the territory of which he has been born if, at the time of the child's birth, he is not granted nationality by any other State in accordance with its laws."

[23] Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Case of the Yean and Bosico Children, Judgment of September 8, 2005, Series C, No. 130 http://www.escr-net.org/usr_doc/Judgement_Sept_8_05.pdf (accessed December 8, 2009), paras 140-141.

[24] Under Article 1 of the Hague Convention on Certain Questions Relating to the Conflict of Nationality Laws, "It is for each State to determine under its own law who are its nationals. This law shall be recognized by other States in so far as it is consistent with international conventions, international custom, and the principles of law generally recognized with regard to nationality."

[25] International Court of Justice, Notteböhm Case, Liechtenstein vs. Guatemala, I.C.J. Rep. 4, 1955.

[26] Ibid. In the Nottebohm Case, brought by Liechtenstein against Guatemala, the court developed this analysis to determine an individual's nationality.

[27] ICCPR, art. 24, and Arab Charter for Human Rights, art. 29.

[28] Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, 989 U.N.T.S. 175, entered into force December 13, 1975, art. 8.

[29] Ibid., art. 1.

[30]  Ibid. arts. 9 and 10.

[31] CRC, art. 8.

[32]  As Ray Takkenberg, a legal scholar, points out in his study of the legal status of Palestinian refugees, the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons of 1960 would include Palestinians under the definition of stateless person as someone "who is not considered as a national by any State under the operation of its law." However, the drafters of the convention, who considered the Palestinians to be stateless, decided to exclude them from the ambit of the convention. According to Takkenberg, this fact is demonstrated by an article in the convention that excludes from its provisions persons receiving protection or assistance from UN bodies, with the exception of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. UN Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, 360 U.N.T.S. 117, entered into force June 6, 1960, art. 1.2.ii. Jordan is not a state party to the convention.

[33] Not all nationals need have full citizenship rights. For example, minors usually cannot vote, and adults are not entitled to free public education.

[34] UDHR, art. 17.

[35] International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), adopted December 16, 1966, G.A. Res. 2200A (XXI), 21 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 16) at 49, U.N. Doc. A/6316 (1966), 993 U.N.T.S. 3, entered into force January 3, 1976, art. 2; CRC, art. 2.

[36] Convention Against Discrimination in Education, adopted December 14, 1960, UNESCO General Conference, 11th Session, Paris, entered into force May 22, 1962, art. 3 [accepted by Jordan April 6, 1976]

[37] Human Rights Committee, General Comment No. 19, Protection of the family, the right to marriage and equality of the spouses (Art. 23), 39th session (1990). See also, for example, Abdulaziz and Others v United Kingdom, European Court of Human Rights (9474/81) (1985).

[38] CRC, art.16.

[39] Ibid., art. 9.

[40] Jordanian constitution, art. 5: "Jordanian nationality shall be defined by law."

[41] Nationality Law, art. 10.

[42] Law No. 6 of 1954 on Nationality, Official Gazette, no. 1171, February 16, 1954, p. 105, arts. 3 and 9.

[43]Law No. 56 of 1949 Additional to the Law of Nationality, Official Gazette, no. 1004, December 20, 1949, p. 422.

[44] Critics therefore charge that the substance and manner of that decision violate Jordanian law. Article 1 of the 1952 constitution states that the kingdom is indivisible and that "no part of it may be ceded."  More importantly, only a law passed by parliament could decide on such a step, these critics say, since article 33.ii. of the constitution requires parliamentary approval for all decisions affecting the rights of Jordanians. The government maintains that King Hussein relinquished the West Bank and East Jerusalem in an administrative act, not an agreement or a treaty, and therefore the constitutional article does not apply. For a critique, see Dajani, "Withdrawal of Nationality."

[45] Jordan, Disengagement Instructions for the Year 1988, July 28, 1988, http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/43cd04b94.html (accessed April 29, 2009), art. 2. Human Rights Watch has not been able to obtain an original Arabic copy of the regulations. Bold highlights in original.

[46]  King Hussein, "Address to the Nation," July 31, 1988, www.kinghussein.gov.jo .

[47] The population of the West Bank was estimated at 860,000 and of East Jerusalem at 130,000. See David Mcdowell, "A Profile of the Population of the West Bank and Gaza," Journal of Refugee Studies, vol. 2 no. 1, 1989, p. 20. Events after 1988, including the establishment of the Palestinian Authority, have made the possibility of addressing Jordanian actions 21 years ago highly unfeasible.

[48] Youssef M. Ibrahim, "Jordan a Grim Refuge for Kuwait Palestinians," New York Times, October 3, 1991, http://www.nytimes.com/1991/10/03/world/jordan-a-grim-refuge-for-kuwait-palestinians.html (accessed October 8, 2009). See also "As of September 1991, over 280,000 Jordanians and Palestinians returned to Jordan since Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990." Middle East Watch (now Human Rights Watch/Middle East and North Africa Division), Nowhere to Go. The Tragedy of the Remaining Palestinian Families in Kuwait, October 1991, p.18.

[49] High Court of Justice, Decision 164/90, cited in The Palestine Yearbook of International Law 1990-1991, p. 70.

[50] Malkawi, "House Panel Backs Ministry Procedures on 'Citizenship Revocation,'" Jordan Times.

[51] Ann M. Lesch, "Palestinians in Kuwait," Journal of Palestine Studies, vol. 20, no. 4 (Summer 1991), p. 53.

[52] "'Interior' Clarifies Disengagement Instructions Concerning Yellow and Green Cards", Al-Arab Al-Yawm, http://ammonnews.net/article.aspx?ARticleNo=41930 .

[53] League of Arab States, Political Committee, "Granting Palestinian Refugees in Camps Unified Travel Documents," Decision no. 715/Dal 20, January 27, 1954 (accessed August 12, 2009).

[54] Jordan Law on Nationality, art. 17.

[55] Ibid., arts. 4 and 5.

[56] League of Arab States, Conference of Supervisors of Palestinian Affairs, "Acquisition of Another Nationality No Grounds for Removal from Relief Lists" , Decision no. 2491/Dal 51, March 3, 1969 (accessed August 12, 2009).

[57] Abbas Shiblak, Center for Refugees and the Palestinian Diaspora (Shaml), "League of Arab States Resolutions on Residency Status of Palestinian Refugees in Arab States", 1997, Introduction. 

[58] Human Rights Watch interview with the head of the human rights department and another official of the department at the Jordanian Ministry of Interior, Amman, April 2009.

[59] Abbas Shiblak, "The Palestinian Refugee issue: A Palestinian Perspective," Chatham House Briefing Paper MENAP/PR BP 2009/1, February 2009, p. 9.

[60] BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, "Closing Protection Gaps: A Handbook on Protection of Palestinian Refugees in States Signatories to the 1951 Refugee Convention," August 2005, p. 16.

[61]Palestine Yearbook of International Law 2000/2001, p. 226.

[62] BADIL, correspondence sent to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), October 27, 2003, cited in Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Jordan: Jordan's treatment of failed refugee claimants who are returned to Jordan or persons who have exited the country illegally or whose permission to leave has expired; whether there is a distinction made between citizens of Jordan, stateless Palestinians from the Occupied Territories, and stateless Palestinians who reside in Jordan under UNRWA registration; possibility of torture or the existence ofa risk to life or a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment upon return, 9 March 2004, JOR42458.E , reproduced at http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/41501c2623.html (accessed 13 August 2009).

[63] Dawudiya, like others, mentioned that the green and yellow colors were swapped in 1988, though we were unable to find further evidence thereof. By that reckoning, West Bank residents between 1983 and 1988 received a yellow card, and West Bankers living in the East Bank received a green card, the opposite of later arrangements.

[64] Human Rights Watch interview with Yusif Dawudiya, Amman, January 29, 2009.

[65] BADIL, "Closing Protection Gaps," p. 20.

[66] The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, 2008, "The Population, Housing and Establishment Census – 2007," Press Conference on the Preliminary Findings (Population, Buildings, Housing Units and Establishments), Ramallah, http://www.pcbs.gov.ps/Portals/_pcbs/PressRelease/census2007_e.pdf (accessed December 8, 2009), p. 10: "Under the Israeli occupation, a comprehensive enumeration of the Palestinians population was done in September, 1967. 599 thousand inhabitants were enumerated in the West Bank."

[67] Abbas Shiblak, "Residency Status and Civil Rights of Palestinian Refugees in Arab Countries," Journal of Palestine Studies, vol.25, no. 3 (1996), p. 40.

[68] Alternative Information Center's division Article 74, "Married Women Without Identity Cards," issue 1, April 12, 1992, http://www.badil/org/Publications/Article74/1992/art2.htm (accessed August 26, 2009).

[69]Alternative Information Center's division Article 74, "Residency Rights: Dimensions of the Problem," issue 1, November 11, 1991, http://www.badil/org/Publications/Article74/1991/art1.htm (accessed August 26, 2009).

[70] Shiblak, "Residency Status and Civil Rights of Palestinian Refugees in Arab Countries," Journal of Palestine Studies, p. 40, Shiblak speaks of more than 150,000.

[71] BADIL, "Survey of Palestinian Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons 2006–2007," 2007, p. 17.

[72] "PA: Israel grants permanent residency to 3,500 West Bank Palestinians," Deutsche Presse Agentur reproduced in Haaretz (Tel Aviv), October 10, 2007, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/911438.html  (accessed October 30, 2009).

[73] "Ibid.

[74] B'Tselem, "The Prohibition on Family Unification in the Occupied Territories," undated, http://www.btselem.org/English/Family_Separation/Index.asp  (accessed October 30, 2009).

[75] "PA: Israel grants permanent residency to 3,500 West Bank Palestinians," Deutsche Presse Agentur, October 10, 2007.

[76] Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Israel/Palestine: Whether a Palestinian who left the West Bank in 1991 using a fraudulent Jordanian passport, and whose family still resides in the West Bank, would be allowed to return to the West Bank, 15 January 2002,ZZZ37971.E ,reproduced at: http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/3df4bed710.html (accessed October 30, 2009).

[77]Abdulla v. IDF West Bank Military Commander, H.C.J. 7607/05, Supreme Court of Israel, December 14, 2005, discussed in Yearbook of International Law, http://www.icrc.org/ihl-nat.nsf/39a82e2ca42b52974125673e00508144/7b7fa4443f3c8a78c12575bc004914fa!OpenDocument  (accessed October 30, 2009): "The Court rejected a petition of a Palestinian, whose presence in the West Bank was unlawful, against his deportation to Jordan (whose citizenship he holds). According to the State, the petitioner, who was born in the West Bank, immigrated to Jordan and lost his residency rights in the area. As a result, the military commander could deport him from the area pursuant to an existing military decree barring the infiltration of aliens into the West Bank. The Court accepted the lawfulness of the State's position and held that, in accordance with the 1995 Interim Agreement between Israel and the PLO, the petitioner should file a request for reinstatement of his residency rights with the Palestinian Authority, and the latter should forward it to the Israeli Authorities. Nonetheless, the Court criticised the State for its failure to institute an effective judicial monitoring mechanism to review the legality of detainment of aliens prior to deportation. While noting that the Fourth Geneva Convention does not explicitly mandate such judicial review, the Court stated that customary international law requires effective judicial review over such detentions…."

[78]Following the end of the 1967 Six-Day War, the IDF assumed control of the governmental, legislative, and administrative powers of the Gaza Strip and Judea Samaria. A military court system for these territories was established, and the military prosecutors present there prosecute terror-related and other criminal offences committed by Palestinians in the territories. See Israel Defense Forces, Military Advocate General's Corps, "History," http://www.law.idf.il/321-en/Patzar.aspx (accessed December 8, 2009).

[79] "Exit Card" issued by the Israeli Authorities for Abbas, copy on file with Human Rights Watch, and Human Rights Watch interview with Abbas, Amman, May 24, 2009.

[80] Alternative Information Center's division Article 74, "Residency Rights: Dimensions of the Problem," issue 1, http://www.badil/org/Publications/Article74/1991/art1.htm .

[81] Alternative Information Center's division Article 74, "Married Women Without Identity Cards," issue 2, http://www.badil/org/Publications/Article74/1992/art2.htm . See also Centre for the Defence of the Individual (HaMoked), Jerusalem, correspondence sent to CIC, November 5, 2003, cited in Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Jordan: Jordan's treatment of failed refugee claimants who are returned to Jordan or persons who have exited the country illegally or whose permission to leave has expired; whether there is a distinction made between citizens of Jordan, stateless Palestinians from the Occupied Territories, and stateless Palestinians who reside in Jordan under UNRWA registration; possibility of torture or the existence of a risk to life or a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment upon return, 9 March 2004, JOR42458.E, reproduced at http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/41501c2623.html (accessed 13 August 2009).