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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Guess who offered to help Palestinian Iraqi refugees?

We've previously discussed the plight of some 3000 Arabs who lived in Iraq for generations and are now in dire straits because they have Palestinian ancestry.

None of the oil-rich Arab countries in the Gulf have offered any help. Syria, which has accepted tens of thousands of other Iraqi refugees, refuses to allow them into the country. Jordan and Egypt have likewise been silent, despite efforts by the UNHCR for years to find countries that can accept them.

But one Arab country has stepped forward.

Sudan.

In what is clearly a public relations move, Sudan has offered to accept all the refugees to change people's focus away from its genocide in Darfur.

The UNHCR, while clearly not happy about this, is considering this idea as Sudan is marginally better than the camp they are in now. The PLO seems to agree to the plan as well.

Refugees International, rather than blaming other Arab countries for refusing to settle these refugees, is asking the US to pick up the slack:
"Relocating Palestinian refugees to Sudan does not offer this population a real choice for a permanent, stable home, and simply moves them from one marginalized situation to another," said Kristele Younes, Senior Advocate with Refugees International.

"We must not allow this vulnerable population to be used as pawns in a greater political game," said Younes. "The U.S. government should acknowledge the vulnerability of this stateless population and resettle them here. It is appalling that Sudan, a country infamous for its violations of international humanitarian law, has stepped in to protect these people when the U.S. would not."

To resettle this vulnerable population expeditiously, Refugees International urged the U.S. State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration to create a special category to process refugee applications. Any process should be held without prejudice to the Palestinians’ right to return to their homeland.
Ironically, this organization which says it tries so hard to solve refugee problems and to allow them to become normal citizens in their host countries still feels obligated to say that even if the US would accept them as citizens they should not forfeit their "right to return" to a place they have not lived in for three generations. Indeed, RI has bought into the very using the Palestinian Arabs as pawns that they rail against, and rather than looking for a permanent solution to the rampant discrimination that Arabs of Palestinian ancestry suffer in the Arab world they continue to advocate a solution that would destroy Israel. RI apparently agrees with the UN that Palestinian Arabs should be labeled "refugees" for generations, uniquely among all the world's refugee populations, and that the West is responsible to solve all Arab suffering, allowing petrodollar-stuffed Gulf states to abdicate all responsibility for the PalArabs.

What a bold move!