JERUSALEM (Dec. 11)
The Palestinian uprising, which began in the Israeli-administered West Bank and Gaza Strip two years ago, spilled briefly into Jordan on its second anniversary over the weekend.
Jordanian riot police used tear gas and fired into the air as they battled Palestinian demonstrators in the Baqa refugee camp near Amman on Saturday.
But the Palestine Liberation Organization reportedly kept the riots from spreading.
The disturbances were a reminder that at least half of Jordan’s 3 million citizens are Palestinians.
About 300,000 of them live in squalid conditions in 10 refugee camps all over the country. Most of the camps are controlled by the PLO’s Al Fatah faction, led by Yasir Arafat.
The disturbances that broke out were contrary to PLO policy.
Israeli military observers say the PLO is determined not to allow the intifada to spread to the east bank of the Jordan River, since it considers King Hussein an asset to the uprising.
The PLO also fears that a “second front” in Jordan would jeopardize whatever the intifada has achieved in Israeli-controlled territory.
Hussein seems to appreciate the PLO’s moderating influence over the Palestinians in his kingdom. After riots protesting the rise of food prices last April, the king openly thanked the PLO for its help in restoring order.