As Israelis and Palestinians prepare to visit Washington next week to begin direct peace talks, it's worth recalling what refugees the Palestinians are—in Arab countries.It's nice to see at least some of the media finally start to wake up to the real issue.
Last week, Lebanon's parliament amended a clause in a 1946 law that had been used to bar the 400,000 Palestinians living in the country from taking any but the most menial jobs. "I was born in Lebanon and I have never known Palestine," the AP quoted one 45-year-old Palestinian who works as a cab driver. "We want to live like Lebanese. We are human beings and we need civil rights."
The dirty little secret of the Arab world is that it has consistently treated Palestinians living in its midst with contempt and often violence. In 1970, Jordan expelled thousands of Palestinian militants after Yasser Arafat attempted a coup against King Hussein. In 1991, Kuwait expelled some 400,000 Palestinians working in the country as punishment for Arafat's support for Saddam Hussein in the first Gulf War.
For six decades, Palestinians have been forced by Arab governments to live in often squalid conditions so that they could serve as propaganda tools against Israel, even as millions of refugees elsewhere have been repatriated and absorbed by their host countries. This month's vote still falls short of giving Palestinian Lebanese the rights they deserve, including citizenship. But it's a reminder of the cynicism of so much Arab pro-Palestinian propaganda, and the credulity of those who fall for it.
(h/t Israel Matzav)