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Jordanian Soccer Violence Injures 250 Bedouin and PA Arabs (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) by Chana Ya´ar 12/12/10)Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/141094 INN} ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS INN} ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
Fans of two rival Jordanian soccer teams clashed Friday night at the King Abdullah Stadium in Amman, leaving 250 people injured, including 30 police officers.

The violence underscored the deep divisions between the Hashemite Kingdom’s native Bedouin clans and those citizens who identify as Palestinian Authority Arabs, and two major news organizations offered opposing versions as to how the violence started.

One of the teams, Wehdat, is comprised of and supported by the PA Arab Jordanians; the other, Faisali, is comprised of and supported by Jordan’s native Bedouin citizens. Wehdat won the game, beating Faisali 1-0 in a key match that qualified the team for the national league.

Deputy Prime Minister Ayman Safadi said the incident began when some of the crowd in the upper seating level began throwing bottles at fans of the losing team, “who are required by regulations to leave the stadium first to avoid interaction with fans of the other team,” according to CNN.

However, Associated Press quoted a witness, Ali Qasrawi, who said that Faisali’s supporters left the stadium and began hurling bottles and stones at Wehdat’s supporters from outside the stadium, which triggered a stampede.

Most of the injuries occurred when a large mental fence separating spectators from the playing field collapsed, police spokesman Colonel Ahmed Abu-Hamad told AP.

Many native Jordanians reportedly feel the PA Arab immigrants and their descendants – some of whom have lived in the country for generations -- have no real allegiance to the Hashemite Kingdom. For their part, many PA Arab Jordanians who carry Jordanian passports complain of discrimination, saying they are barred from upper echelon government positions.

The tension between the two populations is long-standing; at last year’s match between the same teams, Faisali fans even chanted taunts against the ancestry of Queen Rania, born in a part of Israel claimed by the PA, and her son Crown Prince Hussein.

According to a diplomatic memo leaked by WikiLeaks, U.S. diplomats later said they were “puzzled” by King Abdullah II’s lack of response to the “verbal attack on his family.” The Hashemite clan is of Bedouin heritage. (© IsraelNN Syndications 12/12/10)

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