Photo by Majdi Fathi/TPS on 14 December, 2022

Unrest Grips Jordan as Hamas Leader’s Words Ignite Protests

Public By Baruch Yedid/TPS • 3 April, 2024

Jerusalem, 3 April, 2024 (TPS) -- Tensions between Hamas and Jordan have soared in recent days, with officials in Amman suggesting that the Jordanian citizenship of the terror group’s leaders be revoked.

Raising Amman’s ire was an incendiary speech by Hamas leader Khaled Masha’al. Speaking in Amman on March 27, Masha’al called on Jordanians to “mix Arab blood with Palestinian blood.” The speech sent shockwaves through the kingdom, sparking demonstrations and clashes, particularly in the vicinity of the Israeli embassy in Amman’s Al Tla’a Al Sharqi neighborhood.

The kingdom’s anger towards Masha’al is compounded by his Jordanian background. Masha’al family is from the Balqa region between the capital and the Jordan River, but Masha’al has been absent from Jordan for decades, except for attending family funerals.

Demonstrations have spread to the Baqa’a refugee camp, Jordan’s largest, where more than 131,000 Palestinians live in an area of 1.4 sq. km. Concerns persist that the unrest could spread. Estimate suggest that nearly 70 percent of the people living within Jordan are Palestinian, including two million living in refugee camps.

Despite the kingdom’s efforts to provide aid to Gaza and boost the Palestinian Authority, popular Jordanian support for Hamas exceeds 60%, according to recent polls. This growing support has raised alarms in Amman, where authorities closely monitor social media platforms for pro-Hamas sentiments.

Jordanian officials also accuse leaders the country’s Islamic Action Movement of collaborating with Hamas to incite unrest and exploit tensions. The Islamic Action Movement and Hamas are the Jordanian and Palestinian branches of the Muslim Brotherhood respectively.

Criticizing the growing unrest, Minister of Government Communications Muhannad Al Mubaidin insisted, “Jordan will not accept leaders who deviate from this recognition.”

Former Jordanian Minister of Information Samih Al-Maaytah went even further, telling the Al-Arabiya Network that, “A leader of any Palestinian faction who has Jordanian citizenship — but is inciting against our country and is trying to provoke riots in it — the government should seriously consider revoking his citizenship.”