Monday, June 20, 2011

Tens of thousands of Gazans applying to become Egyptian citizens

A few months ago, a group of Egyptian women who are married to Palestinian Arabs protested in Tahrir Square to allow their children to be considered Egyptian citizens.

A 2004 Egyptian law allowed children of Egyptian mothers to become citizens, with the exception of those married to Palestinians.

In 2006, an Egyptian court ruled that the law must apply to Palestinian Arabs as well, but the ruling was ignored by the Mubarak regime.

After the protest, Egypt started enforcing this ruling, and now children of Egyptian mothers and Palestinian Arab fathers can become Egyptian citizens.

And now the floodgates have opened.

Tens of thousands of Gazans are now applying to become Egyptian citizens.

Sharif Rafik Fares, who owns a shoe store in Gaza, said that such nationality is as valuable as gold.

The original goal of stopping Palestinian Arabs from gaining citizenship in other countries was pushed by none other than Yasir Arafat.

Dr. Mohamed Shihab, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, told Al Arabiya, "in the wake of the Nakba and the Naqsa and what happened from the diaspora and oppression of the Palestinian people, there was an Arab resolution adopted by the Arab League, and supported by the Palestine Liberation Organization [to disallow citizenship for Palestinian Arabs in other countries.] But the passage of time and the continued suffering of the Palestinian people, proved that such decisions was a noble goal, but it came at the expense of many segments of the Palestinian people and increased their suffering in the diaspora, which exacerbated their suffering. "

The Arab League decision pushed by the PLO not to give the Palestinians living in Arab countries citizenship was to prevent melting of the Palestinian people in the Arab world, and thus to forget their cause, as well as to keep the Palestinian refugee camps in the Diaspora, as a political symbol to remind all of that the Nakba and the displacement, and these camps remained undeveloped.

Political writer Mohammad Hafiz Abdullah is against this move .He said: 'Although there are conditions of oppression and siege against the Palestinians, there is no reason to have thousands of Palestinians accept the other nationalities, so they can at any moment decide to migrate to different countries'.

Abdullah says that granting citizenship to Palestinians is not in the supreme national interest. He said, 'This is an abandonment of the state of the national struggle in which the Palestinians have sacrificed with their blood and their lives over the decades of occupation for their independence."

The hypocrisy of the Palestinian Arab leadership is once again laid bare. For decades, they have insisted that their people do not want citizenship, and the got UNRWA and even Human Rights Watch to support their decision to perpetuate misery among Palestinian Arabs. However, no one actually asked the Palestinian Arabs what they wanted, and every time they had a chance to become naturalized elsewhere they jumped at the opportunity, first in Jordan, then in Lebanon and now in Egypt.