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Monday, September 08, 2008

Palestinian Arabs fighting to keep their brethren miserable

One of the larger ironies in this conflict is that the people who are most against any permanent resettlement of PalArab "refugees" are usually the ones who live in the most comfort themselves. Europeans of Palestinian Arab descent are among the loudest in railing against even the hint of a "resettlement" of genuinely desperate Palestinian Arabs, while the ones who are in the worst shape will consistently say that they are more than willing to be resettled anywhere.

The hypocrisy of those who claim that the "right of return" is sacrosanct is most obvious when we talk about the 2000-3000 Iraqi refugees of Palestinian origin who are stuck in real camps between the Iraq and Syrian borders. The UNHCR is responsible for these refugees, not the ineffective and counterproductive UNRWA, and the UNHCR has been trying hard to find countries worldwide that could accept even a very small number of them to be resettled.

The biggest obstacles that the UNHCR faces are so-called "Palestinian leaders" themselves. They are so invested in keeping Palestinian Arabs stateless and poor that they fight tooth and nail against their own people - of their own volition - relocating to countries where they might become happy, and no longer pawns.

Reading between the lines of this article in Ma'an News, one can see where the real problem lies:
Iceland decided to accept 29 stranded Palestinian refugees after appeals by UNHCR seeking to find permanent solutions for the group of mostly widows and their children.

The group, made mostly of women and children, has been stranded on the Iraq-Syria border for two years, according to UNHCR spokesperson Ron Redmond who spoke at a press conference in Geneva on Friday.

UNHCR says there are approximately 2,300 Palestinians living in refugee camps made mostly of tents.

For these Palestinians, under the protection of the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR), the organization feels that "resettlement is their only option."

According to Redmond, the commission has "repeatedly called for international support for the Palestinians, but with few results." Though there have been 300 refugees settled in Brazil and Chile recently. Redmond noted that "some urgent medical cases were taken by a few European countries, but this is a very small proportion of the 2,300 Palestinians stranded in the desert."

The two camps that most Palestinian refugees from Iraq are living in have minimal services. Tents provide shelter for hot summer sun and freezing winter temperatures, and the nearest medical facilities are 400 kilometers away.

UNHCR has announced that a second group of refugees, made up of 155 women and families, are scheduled to resettle in Sweden.

Many Palestinians worry that if they are resettled in a new country they will be giving up their right to return to Palestine if and when that option becomes available. In his statements to the press, Redmond stressed that relocation to escape the dire circumstances of camp life would "in no way jeopardize their right to return at any stage, if and when such a possibility arises."
Who are these "many Palestinians" that are so worried? Certainly it is not the ones who live in Gaza under Hamas rule, who are more than willing to relocate to other countries if they could. Certainly it is not the ones in these Iraqi/Syrian camps. Certainly it is not the ones who live in Lebanon, stateless, who would grab any opportunity to become full citizens of the country they were born and raised in if they were given the chance.

No, the "many Palestinians" who are against any sort of resettlement are the ones who already live in Europe and write angry op-ed pieces about this sacred "right of return." They are the Palestinian Arab leaders who will decry any hint of a permanent solution for their people that does not include destroying Israel. They are the leaders of other Arab countries who would never want Palestinian Arabs to become citizens in their own countries - but pretend that this bigotry is for the good of Palestinian Arabs themselves!