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Sunday, November 09, 2008

The Arab world's nightmare

As we have seen in the past, the Iraqi refugees of Palestinian Arab origin are symbolic of the hatred that the Arab world has for Palestinian Arabs. The UNHCR has tried mightily for years to find permanent homes for these people, kicked out of Iraq, but no Arab country (save for a cynical Sudan) has offered to help.

The only countries that do help - Canada, Iceland, Chile and a few others - are vilified by Arabs who pretend to care about their Palestinian brethren, and the reason is clear: to them, "resettlement" means that the refugees will no longer be pawns in the gigantic game of pressuring Israel. Every Palestinian Arab who no longer sits in stateless misery is one less bullet against Israel. The very idea of Palestinian Arabs becoming full citizens of Arab countries is treated as blasphemy, an idea that the UNRWA tried to push in the 1950s but was so violently rebuffed that it became the largest perpetuator of PalArab pain in the guise of gigantic, ever growing "refugee camps."

And the only people that get hurt are Palestinian Arabs themselves. The Arab world congratulates itself on maintaining "Palestinian unity" but it is just a code word for Palestinian Arab misery.

The very few that manage to escape are the proof.

An article in the "Women's International Perspective" about a handful of these Iraqi refugees that made it to Chile includes the words that no Arab leader, and especially no Palestinian Arab leader, wants to see:
Five months into their time in Chile, a strong sense of community is already apparent within Villa La Pina; the refugee children sit playing in the courtyard with their Chilean counterparts and make valiant efforts at playing the traditional game of trompos. As we talk to Basem, his front door is left open and the daughter of the Chilean family next door wanders in and out, enchanted by the newest addition to the Hamlawis – baby Tabarak. At just six days old, Tabarak is the first of the new immigrants to receive full Chilean nationality, although she will be brought up reminded of her heritage. When we ask for a photo of the new baby with her mother, 18 year old Isra, Basem disappears and returns with two Palestinians scarves which he drapes proudly around his young family.

The Chilean based campaign Transforma el dolor en amor (Transform the pain into love) works to promote the refugees’ right to return to the Palestinian homeland. Despite the refugees’ obvious attachment to their nation, however, the relocation to Chile seems to be considered as a permanent move. “I have no intention of going back,” Thamer tells me, “I live in Chile now.”
These are the words that send chills up the spines of Abbas, Assad and other Arab leaders whose positions are based on the existence of an oppressed Palestinian Arab population.

Because if the "refugees" can be resettled and become happy and productive parts of other nations, their so-called "leaders" lose one of their biggest weapons that keep them in power.