Thursday, July 02, 2009

Why are there still "refugee camps" in the PA?

The culture of entitlement that pervades the Palestinian Arabs continues unabated.

Yesterday, leaders of a Nablus "refugee" camp declared a series of escalating actions protesting the reduction of some services by UNRWA, including forcing UNRWA not to be able to work at all.

Today, UNRWA in Nablus responded - by shutting down almost completely, except for three health clinics. UNRWA stated (in Arabic only, these events never make it to the Western press) that they none of their workers would "put their lives at risk," meaning that the threats were much more serious than they were portrayed.

The question that no one asks is - why are there still any "refugee camps" in areas administered by the PA? They have been effectively under PA authority for well over ten years now. In that time period, real villages and towns could have been built. Businesses could have started. Plans could have been made to move camp residents out into the many West Bank cities and villages and eliminate these bizarre, decades-old anachronisms.

The truth is that the population in the West Bank camps has increased by over 33% since 1997.

If the Palestinian Authority wants to truly govern their people, why do they allow these semi-autonomous camps to exist? Why aren't they working overtime to give their people the dignity of living on their own?

The reason is that the PA has no intention of building a nation. Its leaders have no sense of responsibility. They don't care about their people. And, even more importantly, the camps are a symbol of Palestinian Arab suffering that they do not want to lose.

Once there are no camps, how can Palestinian Arabs claim that their lives are so terrible? The camps are emblems of suffering and they must remain forever as long as Israel exists. The PA makes a false impression that Israel is responsible for any Palestinian Arabs who are in dire straits today and the camps are their Exhibit A.

There is another side of the equation. Entire generations of Palestinian Arabs have been brought up in these camps with the mentality that the world owes them, and this week's strikes in Nablus prove it again. When people think that way they are not likely to want to actually work to make their lives better. There is nothing stopping UNRWA camp residents from moving out on their own - many have over the decades. The people that remain in the camps are the ones who are the laziest and most likely to be radicalized.

These camps have been there for sixty years. Where is the plan, drafted by UNRWA and the PA, to get rid of them? There is none, and won't be one, as long as the camps fulfill the dysfunctional yet real wishes of the PA and of their residents.