JERUSALEM, July 21 (UPI) -- Jordan has started revoking the citizenship of Palestinians to try to prevent Israel from turning the country into a Palestinian state, an official said.
The new measures taken by the Hashemite Kingdom give Palestinians living in Jordan a push to return to their homes inside Israel as refugees, The Jerusalem Post indicated Tuesday.
Israel has opposed granting Palestinian refugees the right of return saying it will harm the Jewish character of Israel.
Nayef al-Kadi, Jordan's Interior Minister, said the new measures being taken by his government would thwart Israeli efforts to transfer more Palestinians to Jordan. "We insist that Jordan is not Palestine, just as Palestine is not Jordan," Kadi said.
Palestinians living in Jordan will retain their status as residents of the kingdom and will hold a yellow identification card issued to those who have property and families living in the West Bank, he said.
Jordanian government officials said they fear Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the Israeli government are secretly planning to declare Jordan the future Palestinian state, the Post said.
The latest move by Jordan has increased tensions between Jordanians and Palestinians who comprise approximately 70 percent of the kingdom's population, the newspaper said.
In 1988, the late King Hussein cut administrative and legal ties with the West Bank and since then Jordan has done its utmost to preserve its national identity, the Post said.