The Kingdom may be concealing the number of its Palestinian population reporting them as 6%, but global estimates suggest a figure of around half the population.
The results of Jordan’s census in 11 years, carried out in November with results published on Monday, may be hiding the true number of Palestinians in the country. Jordan’s Al-Rai newspaper, cited by Israel’s Ynet news site, reported that the country is now home to 9.5 million people, an increase of 4.4 million compared to the 2004 census. One reason for the dramatic growth in numbers is the wave of refugees fleeing the violence in Syria.
However, according to Al-Rai, the census says the number of Palestinians living in the kingdom stands at 634,000, more than 6% of the population. Ynet reports that most global estimates put the number of Palestinian refugees living in Jordan at around half the population. Figures released by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics in December claimed that there were 2.2 million Palestinians living in Jordan.
The Ynet news site suggests that the reason for the discrepancy between the Jordanian figures and estimates by the rest of the world, is a desire to hide the fact that there is a Palestinian majority in the country.
According to the census, of the population of 9.5 million in Jordan, 69.3% of the population are Jordanians, and 30.6% are refugees and migrant workers of which 13.2% of the population are from Syria.
In November it was reported that officials in charge of Jordan’s census were forced to remove Israel as one of the options for place of birth on their forms after huge public outrage.
Public figures, politicians and trade unions all called for a boycott of the census, arguing that by offering Israel as an option, the officials were erasing Palestinian identity and normalizing relations with Israel and the Jews.
“The word Palestine must be written in place of Israel in accordance with the historical and political truth and in accordance with public opinion, which is against normalization of relations with Israel,” said the Jordanian Communist Party in a statement at the time.
“This is what can be heard on the streets of Jordan and it is impossible to concede on this at any time,” said the chairman of the rebels’ trade union in Jordan, Hussam Musa.
Many Jordanian citizens threatened not to welcome the employees of the Central Bureau of Statistics, despite the fact that this could lead to fines or even jail time.
Dr. Mahlad al-Umari, a spokesman for the census bureau, responded to the public outcry saying that there was no “politicization or normalization” by including Israel. However it was later announced that the option of Israel had been removed from census forms. “There are only six options besides Jordan – Palestine, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya,” he said.
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