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Monday, August 23, 2010

The Arab "refugee" playbook hasn't changed since 1948

In the light of the recent news about how Lebanon slightly eased its onerous restrictions on Lebanese Palestinians, it is worthwhile to look back and see exactly how the Arab world's use of the Palestinian Arab issue has stayed exactly the same over six decades.

Here's an article from the Herald Tribune news service from August, 1958. Little has changed in the past 52 years.

Ralph Galloway's words are as true today as they were in 1954: "The Arab states do not want to solve the refugee problem. they want to keep it an open sore, as an affront to the United Nations, and as a weapon against Israel. Arab leaders don't give a damn whether the refugees live or die."

There is one difference between 1958 and today: in 1958, people were still trying to find a way for Palestinian Arabs to be integrated in their host countries, or at least into the Arab world. Now, the world has given in to years of Arab intransigence and abuse of their "guests" and ignores the problem altogether.

No UN agency is tasked with solving the problem of stateless refugees. UNRWA long ago gave up on that idea. The world's collective head is in the sand, hoping that somehow these stateless millions will magically disappear if there is only peace between Israel and the Arab world. Yet even if there was a peace treaty, the problem would not go away, and the way that UNRWA has defined it, it will keep getting bigger and bigger.

No one is willing to stand up and say publicly that it is time for the Arab world to stop treating the Palestinian Arabs as cannon fodder against Israel. It is time for them to accept their responsibility for taking care of the people in their midst, the vast majority of whom have never lived in Palestine.

The Arab world is still keeping the Palestinian issue alive for one reason: to ultimately destroy Israel. That has not changed over the years. It has been obfuscated, it has been buried, but if you read this article and look at the debate in Lebanon over their Palestinians you can see that it has not changed.

Every Palestinian Arab who was born in an Arab country should automatically become a citizen of that country. Without this simple rule, no amount of treaties will defuse this looming crisis. It is a simple implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, article 7:
1. The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and. as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents.

2. States Parties shall ensure the implementation of these rights in accordance with their national law and their obligations under the relevant international instruments in this field, in particular where the child would otherwise be stateless.

Why has this been so roundly ignored by NGOs?  Why has the world accepted Arab abuse of their Palestinian "brethren" as normal? Mostly, why does the world still blame Israel for the plight of people who are born in misery, raised in misery and die in misery in Arab countries under Arab rule suffering from Arab laws meant to keep them stateless and dependent?

The Arabs created today's "refugee" problem, and the Arabs are the ones than can solve it. Until the world opens its eyes to this simple truth and starts to exert pressure to that end, everyone is in danger.