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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Falk claims ignorance of Arab discrimination against Palestinians

On the topic thread on Richard Falk's blog, he wrote:

Palestinians have been living in intolerable conditions in refugee camps and under occupation for decades. In contrast, Israelis live under conditions of relative prosperity, freedom of movement, the rule of law, while Israeli settlements daily encroach upon the 22% of historic Palestine set aside after the 1967 War for an eventual Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Who exactly "set aside" the territories for a Palestinian Arab state after 1967? Certainly not Jordan - at least not until some 21 years later. Just more misinformation from a world-renowned "expert."

I won't even go into his ridiculous use of "historic Palestine," as if the Jordan River was ever a border of any representation of Palestine before 1921. It's just another lie. Move along.

But since he mentioned how Palestinian Arabs are suffering in "refugee" camps, I asked him:
Have you ever publicly called for Arab countries and the PA to dismantle these camps and move their residents into normal housing? You do realize that it is not Israel that keeps anyone in camps, but their Arab hosts, do you not?

Would you say that Palestinian Arabs should have the right, if they choose, to become full citizens of their host Arab countries (Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, etc.) as any other Arabs can? If you do, have you ever publicly called for the Arab nations to rescind their laws, on the books today, that specifically discriminate against Palestinian Arabs in areas such as naturalization?

His answer:
I have not, and do not know too much about the Arab discriminatory laws against Palestinian refugees that you mention. I have had a good deal of contact with the refugees themselves, and I can honestly say that I have yet to meet a Palestinian refugee that wants to resolve the issue via the Arab governments. At the same time I have in the past and will continue to criticize Arab governments for abuses toward refugees living within their territories.
So Falk admits he never called for Arab countries to dismantle the camps. He obviously knows that it is the Arab nations and the PA and Hamas that keep the Palestinian Arabs in camps to begin with. Yet he trots out the camps on every possible occasion as proof of Israel's bigotry against Palestinian Arabs. A slight problem, no?

And this person who has studied the topic of Palestinian Arabs for decades never heard of the Arab League Council resolution 1547, adopted March 9, 1959, that Arab nations do not give citizenship to Palestinians "to avoid dissolution of their identity and protect their right to return to their homeland"? He is surely aware that West Bank Arabs only became citizens of Jordan and no other Arab country allows them to become citizens. he is certainly aware of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs, many quite well off, living in Gulf states but still stateless. And no doubt he is aware of the current Jordanian policy to strip Palestinians of their Jordanian nationality if Jordan suspects that they have family in the West Bank. I have a feeling he knows about the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of PalArabs from Kuwait, or the murder of thousands by Jordan a bit further back.

Falk disingenuously says that he has never met a Palestinian Arab "refugee" who wants to resolve the issue that way (who would ever admit to that?), but he neatly sidesteps the real questions: how many of them would choose the benefits of citizenship in their host countries if it was available? And isn't their forced statelessness at the hands of the Arab League massively depriving them of their rights to a nationality?

There is no way Falk is not aware of systematic discrimination against Palestinian Arabs by their hosts. He just chooses to ignore them in his zeal to demonize Israel. Which proves that he is yet another hypocrite who pretends to care about human rights for Palestinian Arabs but really uses that as a bludgeon against Israel while he cares little about the "refugees" who, in his mind, would rather retain that refugee status forever.

Finally, perhaps he has occasionally criticized Arab governments for abuses towards refugees, but he sure hasn't done it very much. I'can't find a single criticism amongst the avalanche of his anti-Israel statements and articles that span the Internet.