Jan 8, 2004 5:10 pm


That is the central message of an article published in the Hartford Courant on January 4, 2004. It is entitled:"Palestinians, Arab States At Odds Over Treatment Of Refugees - Politics Clashes With Human Rights" and was written by PAUL GARWOOD And MAGGIE MICHAEL Associated Press. Here are the most pertinent sections:

The (Palestinian) anger is focused chiefly on Egypt and Jordan for having signed peace treaties with Israel, but it goes further, to the frustration of having lived as second-class citizens in neighboring Middle Eastern states for 55 years since fleeing their homes when Israel became a state.

. . . to the Palestinians, the (Arab) wars were fought as much out of self-interest as concern for the Palestinians, that the verbal championing of their cause is rhetoric to rally the Arab states' own masses, and that it isn't matched by decent treatment of the refugees.

"There is always a political motive behind the Arab states' positions toward the refugees in their countries," says Tayseer Nasrallah, who heads the Palestinian Refugee Rights Committee in the West Bank, home to 650,000 refugees."They consider us an unstable element so they always oppress the refugees and try to get rid of them." Hundreds of thousands of 1948 refugees and their descendants are crammed into impoverished and often violent camps, some of which are urban slums. . . ..

Palestinians in Egypt suffer restrictions on employment, education and owning property. When Egypt announced in September it would grant nationality to children of Egyptian mothers married to foreigners, it did not include Palestinians.

In Lebanon, nearly 400,000 Palestinians live in 12 refugee camps, where crime is rife and clashes between rival Palestinian factions are common. Palestinians cannot own property or get state health care.

According to Nasrallah, Lebanon bans refugees from 72 areas of employment, including medicine and engineering.

Things are better for Jordan's 1.7 million Palestinians, who are nearly one-third of the population and enjoy Jordanian citizenship. But relations have a tumultuous history. A Palestinian assassinated Jordan's king in 1951, and two decades later Jordan fought a war against Yasser Arafat and his Palestine Liberation Organization. In recent times the government has steadily moved to"Jordanize" jobs in the army and other sensitive areas such as state radio and television and the Interior Ministry.

Awni Shatarat, who lives in the Baqaa Palestinian refugee camp, said,"some Jordanians think that Jordan is not home for the Palestinians, that we are only guests."

Syria, with a population of 18 million, is a strong verbal supporter of the Palestinian cause, and refuses citizenship to its 410,000 Palestinian refugees.

Hisham Youssef, spokesman for the 22-nation Arab League, acknowledged that Palestinians live"in very bad conditions," but said the policy is meant"to preserve their Palestinian identity."

"If every Palestinian who sought refuge in a certain country was integrated and accommodated into that country, there won't be any reason for them to return to Palestine," he said.

In other words, the Palestinian ideology trumps the human rights of Palestinian refugees and the UN is nothing if not an enabler of this outrageous state of afairs.

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Alex Bensky - 1/10/2004

Ah--another pro-Israel attempt to blacken the noble cause of the Palestinians, who can hardly be blamed for indulging in the most grotesque savagery imaginable to publicize their cause. After all, what choice do they have? The Tibetans--at least equally oppressed--are well known for their terrorist acts around the world. Kurdish bombings and murders also stem from the denial of their rights...oh, wait.

And why should the Palestinians be singled out? After all, in the years after World War II there were at least forty million refugees in Europe, not to mention millions who were displaced when India and Pakistan broke apart. Just to mention two examples, the Sudeten Germans remain in their refugee camps, as do Poles from the area swallowed by the Soviet Union. They could have been resettled but were left in stinking hopelessness for political reasons...oh, wait.