Wednesday, June 20, 2007

World Refugee Day and World "Refugee" Day

Today is "World Refugee Day." As a result, we will be seeing plenty of articles about Palestinian "refugees" who would not fit the legal definition of refugee if they were anyone but Palestinian Arabs. Alone among world peoples, Palestinian Arabs are considered "refugees" if any of their ancestors lived in Palestine for two years before 1948.

What do you call someone who was born and raised in Baghdad who was forced out by the Iraq war to live in India? Why, he's a "Palestinian refugee!"
Nassem Jamal Mohammed is a quiet, well-mannered man living in a squalid neighbourhood of New Delhi, who, unlike his neighbours, has a more international tale of misery.

The dark-haired, olive skinned 24-year-old is a Palestinian refugee who had the misfortune to be born in Baghdad, the city his parents chose as a sanctuary before war once again caught up with them.

“I ran away with my cousin 14 months ago to escape the bombings, grenade attacks and constant threats from the Shia groups now running out of control in Baghdad,” Nassem said in halting English.

“It is chaos. I was scared for my life.”

Nassem was among about 1,000 Palestinian refugees living in Baghdad’s Baladiyat neighbourhood on the edge of Sadr City, now a radical Shia stronghold.

He decided to flee when a Shia “death squad” threatened him last March.
Not content with counting only the descendants of real refugees, PalArab s like to add an even more absurd category to their litany of supposed suffering. According to the "BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights," not only are there six million Palestinian Arab "refugees," but also 450,000 "internally displaced persons" - Arab citizens in Israel but who had to move in 1948. Even though they are not suffering, even though most of them would probably have moved anyway voluntarily over the past 60 years, for Israel bashers they are yet another opportunity to try to push an agenda even beyond the "right of return" - these haters, under the guise of "human rights" workers, are insisting that Israel rebuild towns that haven't existed for decades.

For proof of the bigoted agenda of these supposed "human rights" agencies: None of them mention any descendants of Jewish refugees nor displaced persons from 1948 - the ones who were expelled from Jerusalem, Gush Etzion, Gaza and elsewhere, even though they are every bit as much "Palestinian" as the PalArabs are, according to their own definitions. And forget even thinking about anyone defining the millions of descendants of Arab Jews who were forced out of their homes in the 1940s and 1950s as "refugees."

There are some 10 million real refugees in the world today. They are being taken care of by the UNHCR with the aim of settling them in places so that they no longer remain refugees. It is way past time to disband the UNRWA, devoted exclusively to Palestinian Arabs and to perpetuating their status as eternal victims, to use a single definition of "refugee" worldwide, and to pressure Arab governments to treat Palestinian Arabs in the same way they treat any other Arabs with the right to resettle in their countries. Anyone who truly cares about Palestinian Arab "refugees" would agree.

But those who want to use this "refugee" issue as a reason to destroy Israel have the opposite intent.