OTTAWA (AFP) - Canada will accept a third of some 150 Palestinian refugees stranded in a camp in "no man's land" on the Iraq-Jordan border for three years, a UN Refugee Agency spokeswoman said.Let's see what we can glean from this article:
Most of the asylum seekers had moved to Iraq after the creation of Israel in 1948, then fled their new home after the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003, but were denied entry into Syria and Jordan.
They have been "stuck in no man's land," living in tents in a United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) camp just inside the Jordanian border ever since, UNHCR spokeswoman Astrid Van Genderen Stort told AFP.
Canada agreed to take in 63 of them, she said.
"They're undergoing security and medical clearance. If they don't meet the requirements, some might still be turned away," she said. "At least 30 have already been cleared."
The UNHCR stepped up efforts to relocate them this year, noting their living situation in an isolated desert with extreme temperatures, and an abundance of dangerous snakes and scorpions, has been "difficult," Van Genderen Stort said.
"Their plight was presented to various countries," she said.
Almost 300 Iranian Kurds, who fled to Iraq during Iran's 1979 revolution, were relocated from the camp to Sweden and Ireland, and some Palestinians have been moved to New Zealand, she said.
The Palestinians had received preferential treatment in Iraq under Saddam Hussein. After he was ousted from power by US forces, they faced "a backlash" from upset Iraqis who had been poorly treated by the former president.
Jordan and Syria turned them away, claiming they had already welcomed their quota of Iraqi refugees from the previous Gulf War and Israel was not warm to the idea of them returning to the occupied territories, she said.
"It's been a really sad situation because it's gone on for so long. We're extremely glad that countries have accepted some of these people," Van Genderen Stort said. "But, it will be difficult for those who stay behind."
A number of Palestinian Arabs fled in 1948 to Iraq. They were treated well, according to this article. They lived there for some 55 years. After Saddam Hussein's regime fell, the Iraqi Arabs were upset and made life difficult for them, causing them to flee Iraq and then they could not find any country that would accept them.
For all intents and purposes, these people should not be described as "Palestinian." They supposedly lived well in Iraq for five decades - yet for some reason they are still considered "Palestinian," not Iraqi. (AFP's "new home" comment is as inaccurate as journalism can be.) The percentage that have ever stepped foot in Palestine must be pretty small. And even though they were said to be treated well in Iraq, apparently they were never truly accepted as Iraqis, and it appears they were never offered citizenship.
In other words, even the Arabs that pledge solidarity with the Palestinian Arabs do not truly accept them as brothers. Even in the best of circumstances, they will be considered outsiders.
The people who are truly interested in helping this group of people do not come from any Arab nations, rather from New Zealand and Canada. You know - the immoral infidels.
The UNHCR is actually doing what a UN refugee agency is supposed to do - take care of the problem, so that the people in the refugee camps eventually manage to get settled. However, the UNHCR does not consider this a Palestinian Arab refugee camp - but an Iraqi refugee camp, as evidenced by the Kurds who live there as well.
Many Palestinian Arabs also live in camps, but not under the auspices of UNHCR. Rather, the UNRWA takes care of them. And instead of working overtime to find countries that are willing to take them, the UNRWA is doing everything they can to keep them in camps, generations after they lost their "refugee" status under any definition but the PalArab one. While UNHCR considers 3 years to be a long time for people to be stuck in camps, the UNRWA does not.
The AFP refers to PalArab refugees not being able to "return" to the disputed territories, when in fact the only place they could properly return to would be Iraq itself. Note that no one seems too concerned about the fact that Iraq is now hostile to Palestinian Arabs, to the point that they must flee. Rather than discuss ways to eliminate the prejudice and bigotry of the Iraqi people, the world simply accepts it as a way of life. (This happened on a much larger scale in Kuwait after the first Gulf War, where hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs were kicked out. For some reason, that "refugee problem" did not take up any room in the UN docket.)
Similarly, note that the refugee camp was on the Jordanian side of the border. Yet Jordan refused to even give the basic humanitarian aid to their PalArab brethren.
Reading between the lines, one can certainly learn a lot from this article.