Introduction / History
More Palestinian Arabs now live in the nation of Jordan than in Israel. Thousands of Palestinians fled or were expelled from Israel in 1948 and 1967. Many of these Palestinians entered Jordan. Unlike other Arab countries, Jordan granted Palestinian citizenship. Many Palestinian militants ignored Jordanian laws and twice tried to assassinate the king of Jordan. The PLO set up a state within a state in the lands it occupied.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Black September or the Jordanian Civil War occurred primarily between September 16-27, 1970. The combatants were the Jordanian Military Forces under King Hussein and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) under Yasir Arafat. The PLO had used its bases in Jordan to attack Israel which led to retaliation by the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces. ) By September 1970, King Hussein decided to eliminate the threat to his regime and surrounded the Palestinian militants. After much fighting militant leaders agreed to surrender and were allowed to leave for Lebanon through Syria.
Some Palestinians have fully integrated into Jordanian society by supporting the government and trying to live normal lives. Their children attend government schools and parents participate in the Jordanian economy. They work in agriculture, construction and in the tourist industry. Farmers grow grains, coffee, dates, melons, mangoes, and vegetables. Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians still live in refugee camps with little opportunity for improving their lives. These camps live by donations from the United Nations, wealthy Arab nations and the West. Many camps lack access to modern medicine, electricity, schools for children, jobs and basic necessities like clean water and food. Social life is extremely important to rural Arabs. Their diet basically consists of wheat bread and porridge made with boiled meat or chicken. Although a Muslim man may have up to four wives, the norm is one wife. Islamic laws have greatly influenced the lives of Palestinian Arabs. For example, to preserve their people, they are only allowed to marry those inside their own group. The tribes living in the mountainous regions have intermarried the least with other Arab groups. Their society, like other Islamic communities, is patrilineal. This means that inheritances are passed down through the males. In this system, boys inherit more than girls. Since children are considered a family's greatest asset, females are valued for their ability to bear children.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The large majority of Palestinians living in Jordan are Sunni Muslims. Islam is a religion of works that is based on five basic "pillars" which are (1) A Muslim must affirm that "there is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet;" (2) He must pray five times a day while facing Mecca; (3) He must give to the poor; (4) He must fast during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim year; and (5) He must try to make at least one pilgrimage, the Hadj, to Mecca in his lifetime.
What Are Their Needs?
The two main holidays for Sunni Muslims are Eid al Fitr, the breaking of the monthly fast and Eid al Adha, the celebration of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son to Allah.
The Palestinians living in Jordan need to hear a clear presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He or she must come to understand that Isa or Jesus is much more than a human prophet. A Palestinian Muslim who professes faith in Jesus Christ can lose his family, his honor, his job, or even his life. Evangelization efforts among these tribes are challenging due to restrictions in many of the countries, as well as general antagonism to Christianity. Prayerful intercession is the key to reaching them with the gospel.
Pray that Palestinian parents in Jordan would be able to provide for their children. Ask God to give Palestinian Arab believers opportunities to share the love of Christ with their own people.
Pray that their traditional Muslim culture will soften, creating open doors for the gospel to be preached among them.
Ask the Lord to raise up a Disciple Making Movement among the Palestinian Arabs in this decade.
Scripture Prayers for the Arab, Palestinian in Jordan.