Amman is a capital in which the foreigner neither marvels at the numbers of homeless on the sidewalks nor remarks on the number of flashy Mercedes Benzes on the roads. Jordan is simply not a rich country like Saudi Arabia, and those families that do possess fortunes tend to be discreet about it. Of course, there are exclusive neighborhoods in Amman but, on the whole, wealth is not flashed around. Poverty, on the other hand, does exist in Jordan, especially in cities.

    Approximately 15 percent of the Jordanian population of 4,998,564 live below the poverty line and up to two-thirds of these poor people are concentrated in urban areas. According to the World Bank, 17 percent of Jordanian children are malnourished, the infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births is high at 31, and 11 percent of the population does not have access to safe drinking water.

    Jordanians tend to refer to Palestinians as persons who fled or were driven from Palestine during the Arab-Israeli War of 1948 and the June 1967 War. Some immigrants from Palestine who had entered Jordan in preceding centuries, however, were so thoroughly integrated into the local society as to be indistinguishable from their neighbors. The Majalis, for more than a century the leading tribe in Al Karak area, came originally from Hebron. For political and social purposes, they and others like them were considered Jordanians. Other Palestinians from Hebron, who came to Al Karak as merchants well before 1948, remained to a considerable degree outsiders, for the most part taking their spouses from the Hebron area and maintaining economic and other ties there.