Palestinian refugees in Lebanon do not only have Israel to blame for their plight

Israel/Palestine
on 47 Comments
A news report from before the Lebanese Parliament reformed laws regarding Palestinian work permits.

The Lebanese Parliament on Tuesday approved a law permitting Palestinians residing in Lebanon the same work opportunities as foreigners; the proposal amending the Lebanese Labor Law will grant Palestinian refugees in Lebanon the right to free-of-charge work permits and severance pay.  A plethora of Lebanese have called this a victory, a long awaited triumph in a long process to establish basic rights for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

There are, of course, two primary sides to this heralded victory: Those who support the new law and those who oppose it; ironically, the underlying narratives for both sides can be quiet similar.

After more than 60 years of exile, Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon continue to be unequivocally deprived of  civil, economic, and social rights – they are a stigmatized and marked community. This new law will not change the social and cultural deprivation the Palestinians face and the economic “improvement” is nothing more than a façade designed to look much like a hand-out. The mentality of the Lebanese must change in order for the situation to improve for the Palestinians.

Though it isn’t just the Lebanese and of course it is not all the Lebanese.

Palestinian journalist Ramzy Baroud cites that ”…Hezbollah has, until now, guarded various refugee camps against many threats.

Palestinians here gratefully acknowledge that without Hezbollah serving as a bulwark against the many looming dangers, the plight of the refugees would have been much worse.”

The Palestinians, As A Burden

The Arab world has long considered ministering to the Palestinians as a burden of sorts; the laymen will boast about what their country has done in terms of “helping” the Palestinians and a plethora of governing bodies will do no less than tout the same dry rhetoric. Reality is blatantly inconsistent with any such anecdote.

The marginalization of Palestinians in the Arab world is irrefutable, unashamed and circadian.

The Arabs have all but washed their hands clean of the Palestinians, many of whom cannot even be classified as 2nd class citizens.

In Lebanon, notably, there are those who are feel kinship and affinity towards the Palestinian refugees, those who are determined to keep them in the refugee camps and then those who consider them no less than an encumbrance on Lebanese society and would like them to leave – and that is putting it nicely. The Lebanese populace have generally fought about the Palestinians, instead of for them.

lebanon refugee campsLebanon’s Palestinian refugee’s began the trenchant migration from their occupied homeland in the 40′s; In 1948 hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were expelled from or forced to flee Palestine in the wake of the creation of the state of Israel. There are now more than 425,000 registered Palestinian refugees, many of whom reside in 12 overpopulated and unkempt camps in Lebanon:

Burj El Barajneh, Beddawi, Bur El Shemali, Dbayeh, Ein El Hilweh, El Buss, Mar Elias, Mieh Mieh, Rashidieh, Wavel, Shatila, Nahr El Bared.

I cringe at the thought of calling the refugee camps “slums” but I must use candid rhetoric; The Palestinians are being subjugated – by the Israeli’s, the Americans and the Arabs.

Now, in respect to the recent provision by the Lebanese parliament , it has taken 60 years for the Lebanese to allow the Palestinians the sparse right to work; I don’t know whether to be ashamed or slightly optimistic. It is a move in the right direction but surely we can all contend that it is a fairly apathetic crawl – in the right direction. No one should be bragging, especially not the Lebanese Government.

I Am My Brother’s Keeper: The Blame Falls On The Arabs

The Palestinians have been stripped of their homeland, their identities, their family’s and their very way of life – the only precious item they have managed to hold on to is their dignity.  The Palestinian struggle is marked with pain, torment and unwavering determination; the Lebanese have a common history, especially those in the South who were once occupied by Israel and who liberated themselves in the year 2000 with the help of Resistance groups like Hezb’Allah.

Let me be frank and inject some emotion and brutal reality into the argument, because for far too long has emotion been removed from this dispute ‘over the Palestinians’. The Arabs have forgotten the Palestinians, as a people.

The Palestinians are not slogans to be chanted on the anniversary of the Nakba, during rallies or marches.

The Palestinians are not faceless statistics to be pitied.

The Palestinians are not the keffiyeh; worn as scarves in the streets of Beirut or hung in shops, or strapped around the waist.

The Arabs see their support of the Palestinians as if they are doing someone a favor. The general populace asserts that they are doing the Palestinians a favor by allowing them to reside, regardless of how uncomfortable and degraded their lives are, in their country – be it Jordan, Syria or Lebanon.

This mentality is for the cowardly and the weak.

The Palestinians are not looking for hand-outs and they do not need or require our pity.

For over 60 years it has been this way. For over 60 years, the Palestinians have lived as outsiders and victims of unwavering brutality.

The Lebanese Parliament did no one a favor on Tuesday.

So, when will the Arabs wake up?  How much longer will they pretend that the blame solely falls upon Israel and America?

The Israeli entity and imperialist regime of the United States are both doing their jobs, why are we refusing to do ours?

I cannot speak on behalf of the Lebanese or the Palestinians but I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that I am my brothers keeper and until the Palestinians are free – I shall forever be his keeper.

Roqayah Chamseddine is a Lebanese-American humanitarian activist. She is a an undergraduate student majoring in Political Science/Pre-Law and Journalism. She was a member of the Gaza Freedom March last December in Cairo.

47 Responses

  1. potsherd
    August 20, 2010, 1:53 pm

    This movement in Lebanon is tacit acknowledgment that the Palestinians have lost – the war, their homeland. Jordan is still fighting back against them, and other Arab states have engaged in blatant ethnic cleansing.

    The best friend the Palestinians have had in the Arab world was Saddam Hussein, and we see how he (and they) paid for it.

    • annie
      August 20, 2010, 3:04 pm

      it’s not over til the fat lady sings potsherd. the war’s not over, too soon to talk about the results.

    • Taxi
      August 20, 2010, 4:21 pm

      Despite the corruption of most arab leaders, the arab people love and will always love palestinians.

      The Nakba was created by the israelis, and not by other arabs, so in this sense the FULL responsibility lays squarely on israel’s shoulders. Yes we can shame the other arabs for not sufficiently helping the palestinians since the nakba, but we can’t shift israel’s blame for starting all this, or allow this blame to be unjustly shared out.

      As far as palestinian refugees in lebanon, the problem here regarding giving these refugees full status, is that it tips the sectarian scales in favor of the suni lebanese which other lebanese minority sects would not find equitable to them therefore throwing lebanon back into its dark mid seventies civil war days.

      Real justice INSIDE HISTORIC PALESTINE is the only answer for the problem of palestinian refugees.

      • potsherd
        August 20, 2010, 5:15 pm

        Taxi, the Iraqi people demonstrated their love of the Palestinians in their country by slaughtering them. The Arab population loves the Palestinians as a cause, but in their own neighborhoods, not so much.

        But I agree, the fault and the entire fault lies with Israel. Lebanon and other states never deserved to be flooded with refugees.

      • Taxi
        August 20, 2010, 5:58 pm

        potsherd,

        True other arabs have killed/slaughtered many palestinians, but i still maintain that the majority arab-joes and janes love the palestinian people and feel for their ongoing plight – its not just an ideology or a political cause, the palestinians are, after all, the ‘holy land people’ in the arab psyche and arab history, to be treated with a sort of a grandfatherly/grandmotherly gentleness.

      • Chaos4700
        August 20, 2010, 7:45 pm

        Taxi, the Iraqi people demonstrated their love of the Palestinians in their country by slaughtering them.

        Are you sure about that? There’s an awful lot of misinformation coming out of Iraq on who’s killing who ever since our army showed up.

        Blackwater, anyone?

      • potsherd
        August 20, 2010, 11:53 pm

        Chaos – yes, I’m sure. It was the Palestinians in Iraq who claimed it was their own neighbors who targeted them. They were driven into refugee camps on the borders with Jordan and Syria, where they were stuck in a no-man’s-land since neither country was willing to let them cross for fear that they would not leave and become a permanent resident population, as they did in Lebanon.

        This was the main reason the “six Arab armies” entered the war against Israel in 1948, to get the refugee population out of their countries and back home where they belonged.

        Palestinians are like free kittens – everyone claims to love them but no one wants to take them home.

      • tree
        August 21, 2010, 1:26 am

        My understanding of the situation in Iraq was that the Palestinians were resented because it was perceived by the Shia majority that they were favored over the local population by Saddam Hussein’s Sunni government and so when Hussein’s power was broken the Shia majority lashed out at both the Iraqi Sunnis and the (Sunni) Palestinians. Its not quite as simple as you make it out.

      • Chaos4700
        August 21, 2010, 1:45 am

        Even so, a lot of targeting of various groups by various groups. Palestinian, Sunni, Shi’ite, Christian, women, etc. The sectarian violence that happened in Iraq happened as a direct result of two entities making a battleground out of Iraq — the United States and al-Qaeda — and the latter only entered on the heels of the former and in the vacuum left behind by the devastation of Iraq’s army and civil security infrastructure.

        I appreciate that you bring facts to the table, potsherd, but your pessimism and accusatory focus does nobody any good. Israel was attacked because Israel attacked first. You don’t need to be buying the Zionist line that Arabs are almost savage as to each other as they are genocidal to Jews. It simply isn’t true and if you knew as many Arabs as I have (which isn’t even that many) you’d know better.

      • potsherd
        August 21, 2010, 9:24 am

        tree, of course that was the situation. Nothing I said suggests otherwise. It still doesn’t add up to any love on the part of the Iraqi population for the Palestinian residents. Saddam did for the Palestinians what people are suggesting that Lebanon and other Arab states do – he let them make homes, he let them take jobs, he gave them everything but citizenship. And as soon as Saddam was gone, the Palestinians were thrown out by their brother Arabs.

      • potsherd
        August 21, 2010, 9:37 am

        It is not “buying the Zionist line” to recognize the factual fact that Palestinians have been unwelcomed by other Arabs. And just because a Zionist says something, it is not necessarily false (even a stopped clock).

        One of the most common and bitter complaints of the Palestinians, particularly in Gaza, is “where are the Arabs?”

        And I’ll bet that with all the rhetoric from Ahmadinejad in support of the Gazans, Iran wouldn’t be putting out the red carpet for a mass immigration of refugees, should this be proposed.

      • Chaos4700
        August 21, 2010, 11:08 am

        Wait a minute. So now the watermark for Arabs loving the Palestinians is capitulating to Israel and accommodating their ethnic cleansing and expulsion of over half of Palestine’s population?

        Who’s side are you on?

      • tree
        August 21, 2010, 11:14 am

        Actually, potsherd, Saddam Hussein did more for Palestinians in his country than what other Arab countries are being asked to do. He set up a kind of rent control that forced Iraqis to provide housing for Palestinian refugees at a rate significantly lower than the rate that they could charge other Iraqis, and provided large monetary assistance to the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, thus giving the mostly Shia Iraqis the feeling that they(the Palestinian refugees) were being privileged over the Iraqi population. (My belief is that this monetary assistance was one of the primary, but unspoken, reasons that Israel, and the Lobby, pushed for war against Iraq.)

        I’m not arguing that all Arabs love the Palestinians, which to my mind is grossly simplistic but only that your own simplistic retelling of what happened in Iraq after the war started is not the whole story.

      • Psychopathic god
        August 21, 2010, 12:25 pm

        the role of Britain and France in dividing the Ottoman empire — and specifically, Lebanon, Iraq, the Levant, etc. — amongst themselves for their own purposes and gain, also needs to be laid on the table.
        btw, In some of those post-war negotiations, US acted almost honorably.

        Instructive to consider this discussion in conjunction with the piece about the power of wealthy Jews in the US, especially the comparisons of current wealth & prominence vis a vis early 20th century Europe Jewish wealth and prominence.

      • potsherd
        August 21, 2010, 1:53 pm

        Who’s side are you on?

        Truth. Right. Justice.

        Not rosy delusions of brotherhood.

      • potsherd
        August 21, 2010, 2:00 pm

        I’m certain that Saddam’s assistance to the Palestinians, both the refugees in Iraq and the victims of housing demolition in the WB, was being Israel’s drive to destroy Iraq. It caused him to be labeled a “state supporter of terrorism.”

        What’s questionable is whether Saddam did this out of love for the Palestinians, however, or a desire to stick it in the eye of Israel. In any case, he paid the price.

        But for whatever reason, Saddam was an exception. Arab leaders have not, in general, welcomed Palestinians as residents. And Jordan and Syria did refuse them the right to cross their borders when the brotherly Iraqis drove them out of their homes, although they allowed Iraqi refugees to cross.

      • Walid
        August 22, 2010, 12:51 pm

        “… Israel was attacked because Israel attacked first.”

        Chaos, you are both missing an important point; most of the Arab armies attacked because they wanted a piece of the cake before the Zionists got their hands on all of it. Egypt wanted Gaza to serve as its buffer zone and Jordan already had a deal with the Zionists to let them walk all over the WB and take it. And the Arabs armies were 5, not 6 and they totalled about 23,000 disorganized, poorly trained and equipped fighters against a fully trained and equipped Jewish fighting force of about 70,000:

        Wiki: “On the eve of the war, the number of Arab troops likely to be committed to the war was about 23,000 (10,000 Egyptians, 4,500 Jordanians, 3,000 Iraqis, 3,000 Syrians, 2,000 ALA volunteers, 1,000 Lebanese and some Saudi Arabians), in addition to the irregular Palestinians already present.”

      • Walid
        August 21, 2010, 5:16 am

        Taxi, there isn’t as much love as people let on. Let’s not forget that when the war broke out, there was a mad rush by brotherly countries to grab whatever land they could for themselves and one brotherly country had a prior agreement to not actively join the battle in return for some Palestinian land that the Zionists would let it overrun. When the Palestinians were put on the boats to Tunis in 82, the only Lebanese that complained were the downtown merchants that saw their businesses take a 20% nosedive. And what the Lebanese did that year at Sabra-Shatilla with the full logistical help of the Israelis was not very brotherly. Of course how Arafat and his goons acted in Lebanon did not help the Palestinian cause there but the Lebanese sure have a lot of catching up to do towards the Palestinians.

        The next chapter in the Gaza saga is scheduled for tomorrow night with the planned sailing of the Mariam. Cyprus that sides with Israel has already said that it will not allow the ship to dock there.

      • potsherd
        August 21, 2010, 9:19 am

        Lebanon has cancelled the permit after Cyprus caved.

      • Walid
        August 21, 2010, 10:31 am

        “… As far as palestinian refugees in lebanon, the problem here regarding giving these refugees full status, is that it tips the sectarian scales in favor of the suni lebanese which other lebanese minority sects would not find equitable to them therefore throwing lebanon back into its dark mid seventies civil war days.” Taxi

        Not exactly true, Taxi, the situation has been lopsided for decades and everyone pretends it isn’t and using it to shut the door in the face of Palestinian naturalization. The Constitution and cutting of the pie is based on the first and only census taken in 1932 which showed that the Christians represented about 50% of the total, the Sunni about 25%, the Shia about 18%, the Druze about 5%, Jews and others about 2%. This hasn’t been the case for decades, yet the pie continues being cut according to these 1932 numbers and the civil war of 1975 you mentioned was caused by injustices created by this screwed up formula. The civil war resulted in clipping the wings of the Christians but today the pie continues being cut along the 1932 numbers as the Christians have dwindled down to about 20% (and they still get half of the Parliamentary seats and half the ministries and government agencies directorships and military officers, the Sunni are still around the 25% mark and in full control of the country but the Shia have jumped to about 40% and continue getting the leftovers thrown at them.

        So the reason being given about the Palestinians upsetting the balance is not true, it’s already upset. It’s true that the 450,000 Palestinians are mostly Sunni and this would be to the advantage of Lebanon’s Sunni that have already been surpassed by the Shia. Christians are already in minority and the Shia are already in the majority and no one is complaining about anything being out of balance, except when it comes to the Palestinians. I think naturalizing the Palestinians would be great for Lebanon even if it shows that Israel got away with murder. It already has so why prolong the agony?

      • Taxi
        August 22, 2010, 1:01 am

        Thanks for your comments and statistics, Walid.

        The list of arab-on-palestinian violence is long and grim, no doubt. Each case is more complex than the next, but the case of palestinians in lebanon is by far the most complex AND volatile. But I am not refering to the political shakers and active mini-armies here.

        Speaking from my experience travelling the middle east since the sixties, I can honestly say I’ve never met an average-arab-joe or jane who didn’t express an earnest affection for the Palestinians and sympathy for their ongoing plight. Yes these arabian joes and janes might be critical about this and that regarding palesinians, but they don’t want them dead, they still feel sympathy for them because they know that the palestinians are victims who have absolutely NOTHING: no homeland, no cementry to bury their dead, is a sentiment I would often hear.

        So I dunno, Walid. Seems to me that the most ‘people’ of the arab nations are offay with the palesitnians. They certainly HATE israel for what is does to them, that’s for sure.

        And according to your statistics, some 450.000 palestinian refugees in lebanon are mostly suni moslem. I’d say for a lebanese population of some 3.5 million with some (correct me if i’m wrong here) 17 different faiths practiced, surely the refugee number of some 450.000 would not just tip the scale, but would out and out bust it to pieces!

        Do the maths, Walid. The ‘imbalance’ that lebanon is in, seems to be functioning somewhat. I doubt lebanon can function at all, absorb the punch, if you like, if it allowed citizenship to it’s palestinian refugees.

        Having said that, I do believe that short of giving them citizenship, the lebanese can still do a heck of a lot more to make life easier and prosperous for its refugee population.

      • Walid
        August 22, 2010, 1:36 pm

        Taxi, maybe it’s time Lebanon dropped its antiquated and unjust formula from 1932, retired its 17 religious leaders from politics and got people used to the concept of getting government jobs based on merit rather than on the religious quota system. If this happens, the 450,000 Palestinians would be a great asset to Lebanon irrespective of their religion; Palestinians are among the most industrious of Arabs. Besides, there is some kind of standing offer since 15 years for about 20 billions from the US for Lebanon to build the required cities and job markets for the Palestinians and this amount would go a long way in helping Lebanon’s current economic problems. There are currently about 200,000 foreigners working as domestics and another 200,000 foreigners employed as manual labourers. Palestinians if given permission to work could be filling up most of these jobs.

  2. Les
    August 20, 2010, 6:13 pm

    The responsibility lies with the UN which ceded Israel from Palestine in 1948 and instantly created the Palestinian refugees. Perhaps the issuance of UN passports might be a starting point by giving these refugees rights and opportunities. It certainly can be argued that for many Arabs, the Palestinian refugees have served as a useful cat’s paw but it remains the case that it was not Arabs and not Lebanon but the UN that created this problem and bears responsibility for dealing with it.

  3. silencenolonger
    August 20, 2010, 7:10 pm

    One can criticize Israel for creating the problem, but shouldn’t the Arab, Egyptian, Lebanese etc on purely humanitarian grounds seek to make the refugees lives easier. When refugees end up in Sweden, Britain or Germany they are given social services, found a place to live. The Saudi’s could easily pay for something like this. Underlying this is an autocratic mentality, the belief that those in power are only responsible for their kin, tribe etc.
    Don’t want to get into religion but the Christian responsibility to feed the hungry, clothe the naked etc… has created a Western mentality where even if you are an atheists there is a cultural belief that one should help the less fortunate. It is being destroyed by the Ayn Rand social darwinism of Wall Street, it will lead to ghettos just like the ones in this article

    • Chaos4700
      August 21, 2010, 1:48 am

      Don’t want to get into religion but the Christian responsibility to feed the hungry, clothe the naked etc…

      Really? Because a lot of the hew and cry to end Social Security and Medicare and terminate foreign aid missions comes from the ultra-Christian right.

      Christians really aren’t all that Christlike, in my experience.

      • silencenolonger
        August 21, 2010, 2:57 pm

        Well next time you are in a big city notice the names of the hospitals, St Vincent, St Luke, etc look at the names of the schools not the public schools but the performing parochial schools. Go to an Hispanic immigrant area of New York, and see where they turn when they need help.
        Right wing Christian fundamentalists should really become some Orthodox Jewish cult they have nothing in common with the basic premises of Christianity, like love they enemy. If you read the stories in the gospels, there is the Good Samaritan, The Samaritan women at the well, the stories of Janus’s daughter, Dives and Lazarus and of course Mary Magdalen. Seems to me that the emphasis was on the outsider and less fortunate.

      • Chaos4700
        August 22, 2010, 2:28 am

        Oh and do you really want to talk about how these “saintly” Christian big city hospitals are run? Would you like to explore how Christlike their attitudes really are?

        I’d open this can of worms with you, being that I actually do live in a big city and have seen “Christian” hospitals royally screw people over. But that’s not really the focus of this blog.

  4. Miss Dee Mena
    August 20, 2010, 11:36 pm

    Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, however, are still not able to work as doctors, engineers and lawyers amongst a few other elite professions which are still closed to them.

  5. Richard Witty
    August 21, 2010, 8:02 am

    One PRIMARY point of the article is that Palestinians are current, alive now, living people denied civil rights today.

    To even go to the question of who is to blame, rather than the question of how can we improve their actual lives, is itself a continuing crime.

    • Mooser
      August 21, 2010, 9:26 am

      In plain goddam English, Richard, you want them held hostage.
      Anybody says a word, the Palestinian gets it, huh, Witty?

    • potsherd
      August 21, 2010, 9:39 am

      Then by no means let us go to the question of who is to blame for the genocide of the Jews in WWII, as that would be a crime.

    • Chaos4700
      August 21, 2010, 11:10 am

      So, Witty, why does Germany pay billions in reparations to Holocaust survivors? “To even go to the question of who is to blame, rather than the question of how can we improve their actual lives, is itself a continuing crime.”

    • Chaos4700
      August 21, 2010, 11:11 am

      Wow. Now that I think about it, you must vehemently oppose the Nuremberg trials as well. No wonder you keep putting “international law” and “Geneva Conventions” in air quotes, Witty — you’re convinced the Nazis were victimized too!

      • Schwartzman
        August 21, 2010, 12:35 pm

        Wow Chaos, back to back posts about the Nazis. Is there a pill to curb your Nazi obsession?

        Please explain how the Geneva Conventions and International Law applies to what Richard said? You use these catch phrases all the time w/ out having a fucking clue about what you are talking about.

        Passion can only get you so far…..

      • potsherd
        August 21, 2010, 5:02 pm

        Schwartz – I was the one who brought up WWII, to expose RW’s ridiculous hypocrisy about blame being a crime.

      • Taxi
        August 22, 2010, 1:06 am

        Nobody is more ‘obssessed’ with the holocaust than… you know who you are, right?

      • Chaos4700
        August 22, 2010, 2:40 am

        Oh, so now the Geneva Convention is a “silly catch phrase.”

        Zionists. Really now.

      • Richard Witty
        August 21, 2010, 2:17 pm

        You don’t get it.

        Get off your asses, you fools. Help the real Palestinians, actually. Don’t play the political games that uses them as ideological pawns for your own vanity.

        Your approach amounts to ideology over people.

      • potsherd
        August 21, 2010, 5:00 pm

        Help the Palestinians. Toss a buck into the hat.

      • Richard Witty
        August 21, 2010, 10:50 pm

        The factors that are materially improving Palestinians actual lives are the restoration of economy, law, dependable civil institutions, that Fayyad is leading.

        The factors that lead Palestinians into a grand gamble, are militancy.

      • Taxi
        August 22, 2010, 1:09 am

        You want lebanon to commit national suicide?

        You wanna kill two beautiful birds with one stone, right witty?

      • Chaos4700
        August 22, 2010, 2:30 am

        Get off your asses, you fools. Help the real Palestinians, actually.

        And when I get on that boat, and your son rappels down from the helicopter gunship and puts a bullet in my head, then what will you say? “Nice try?”

      • Chaos4700
        August 22, 2010, 10:56 am

        The factors that are materially improving Palestinians actual lives are the restoration of economy, law, dependable civil institutions, that Fayyad is leading.

        The factors that lead Palestinians into a grand gamble, are militancy.

        As opposed to what? How Zionists built Israel in the first place? You don’t get much more textbook hypocrisy than that.

        Never mind that every time the Palestinians do build a national institution, ISRAEL DEMOLISHES IT.

      • potsherd
        August 22, 2010, 12:11 pm

        Notice how RW does not condemn Israeli militancy.

  6. MHughes976
    August 21, 2010, 10:22 am

    It is said that in 586 the prophet Jeremiah led or was dragged by a group of hardline anti-Nebuchadnezzarists into Egypt, where evidently they were not turned away, and that from this group of refugees the great Jewish population of later Egypt, seemingly with all avenues of employment and property open to them, grew. This might help explain the kindly reference to the Egyptians in Dt.23. How nice, on that showing, some people were in those days. Though it’s also said that the Egyptians came to resent their negative portrayal in Exodus and developed rival legends.
    Seeing all the problems of our day about immigration I sometimes wonder what would have happened had the IRA won a complete victory and taken a very hard line which caused the ‘British’ population of Northern Ireland to flee to England. I guess we’d have been quite mean to them. I’m sure that the governments and populations of Lebanon etc. have been mean to the Palestinians but in their defence we could say that there had to be problems in reconciling a ‘right of integration’ with a ‘right of return’.

  7. Walid
    August 21, 2010, 11:27 am

    Great article, Roqayah, you are right about Arabs blaming Israel and America for what happened to the Palestinians and it’s about time the Arab involvement in this mess was discussed. Jordan on paper is the one that did most of the naturalizing; but then again, Jordan is the one that got most of the original Palestinian lands and at one point, it had both sides of the river, so there is nothing to brag about there. Syria that keeps a low profile is the one that appears to have really done a lot for the Palestinians providing them with free medicare, higher education and the right to work in almost any trade or profession. Lebanon and Egypt were the pits for Palestinians. Will you be on the next ship to Gaza?

    • potsherd
      August 21, 2010, 2:07 pm

      Jordan is now denaturalizing a large number of Palestinian Jordanians. Abdullah is very determined to resist the “Jordan is Palestine” movement.

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