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Monday, June 11, 2007

14,000 PalArabs emigrated from Gaza since "disengagement"

Ma'an Arabic reports (autotranslated, somewhat cleaned up):
Data revealed by the international observers working at the Rafah crossing show that about 14 thousand Palestinians migrated from the Gaza Strip since the Israeli withdrawal from the sector in 2005.

The phenomenon of migration was attributed by Palestinian experts, in the Israeli Maariv newspaper which published the news, to poverty, pressure from the Israeli military and political infighting going on between Fatah and Hamas. Those factors which rose levels of despair among the Palestinians and driving them into the brain of Gaza confirmed the high magnitude of the phenomenon since the families of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and the concomitant pressure an Israeli military.

226,396 people have left to Egypt via the Rafah crossing since it was handed over to the Palestinian Authority, and 212,660 have returned to the Gaza Strip. This means that the residents of Gaza had declined in that period by about 14 thousand, which is equivalent to more than 1% of the total population.
I see some analogies between the Palestinian Arabs who are leaving now and the ones who left in late 1947 and early 1948. The first wave of Palestinian "refugees" were the smart and rich ones who didn't want to be around while a war was going on, so they moved to family and friends in other Arab countries by the tens of thousands right after the UN partition vote. The ones who were left behind were the ones who were most susceptible to rumor and false reports., and they were by definition less stable than their more intelligent and wealthier brothers. (I hope to get to that episode in a few weeks - I'm only up to 1928.)