In recent days, the western media has devoted great attention to the indictment of an Israeli police officer who killed a Palestinian stone thrower and the lack of an indictment against Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African American who allegedly had stolen from a store. However, one day before the indictment of the Israeli police officer, a young Palestinian teenager was tragically murdered by a Jordanian policeman, but the international media has had virtually nothing to say about it.
According to a statement made by Jordanian Palestinian MP Lufti Dirabani, who is a relative of the boy, Palestinian teenager Ibrahim Nadir Al Dirabani was coming out of a courthouse in Amman when he was stopped by a Jordanian police officer and asked to show his ID card for no apparent reason. After that, the police officer proceeded to beat him, despite pleas from the young boy that he just needed to wait until his father came out of the courthouse to see a valid ID (underage Jordanians generally don’t have their own ID cards and the father possessed a family ID where his name was registered).
Due to the beatings, the teenager started to run away from the police officer. In retaliation, the police officer fired five bullets at the Palestinian teenager. Two did not hit the boy, three did. According to eye-witnesses, the Police officer then proceeded to stomp on the boy with his shoes as he was bleeding, proclaiming: “you are just fine you little bastard.” Eye-witnesses reported that they failed to call an ambulance and when one finally arrived, the Palestinian teenager’s body was tossed inside like cargo.
“While some might claim that this is an isolated incident, Jordan has a history of police violence and repression towards Palestinians,” an anonymous Jordanian source reported. “Jordan’s police in particular are known for its brutality against Palestinians, especially at soccer games. There are countless incidents of brutality against the Palestinian soccer team in Jordan. Even the US Embassy in Jordan produced an entire cable covering brutality against Palestinians at soccer games. The US Embassy mentioned racist slogans made against Palestinians by Jordanian spectators, basically under the eyes of the Jordanian Police.”
The Jordanian source also noted that Palestinians are discriminated in every conceivable arena, from education to healthcare to employment to business. These facts are confirmed in a report issued by the University of Maryland. The source added that these problems have recently intensified due to the deep economic distress that Jordan presently finds itself in.
According to reports issued recently by Human Rights Watch and the UNHRC, Palestinians from Syria were forced back into the war zone, where their lives are at risk: “Refugee deportations violate the international law principle of nonrefoulement, which forbids governments from returning people to places where their lives or freedom would be threatened.” This mistreatment of the Syrian Palestinian refugees in Jordan further highlights the systematic persecution experienced by Palestinians within the country.
Despite incidents such as these, western media outlets seldom condemn Jordan for its abominable human rights record. For such media outlets, a Caucasian American police officer killing an African American teenager or an Israeli police officer killing a Palestinian rock thrower is hot news, but a Jordanian Bedouin police officer murdering a young Palestinian for not showing his ID card is unimportant. This remains the case even though if one evaluates the incidents objectively, the Jordanian case was much more severe, as there was no suspicion that he stole, nor did he engage in any hostile action such as stone throwing. Therefore, this incident highlights the systematic bias displayed by western media outlets, which only care about the tragic loss of human life if the death can be blamed on either Jews or Caucasians.