Sunday, August 05, 2012

Blame everyone for PalArab misery except Arabs

Ma'an publishes an op-ed filled with rubbish by Osama Kashoo:
On June 21, 27 and 29, three asylum seeker vessels heading from the port of Pelabuhan Ratu on the south-eastern coast of Java, a popular embarkation point for Australia's coast, disappeared. The boats were overladen with men, women and children desperately seeking a new life when they sank.

Such tragedies are all too common in the world of people smuggling. But this horror has an extra dimension to it, as the majority of the missing passengers were Palestinian refugees. This has led to a cruel fiasco of disinterest from all the regional authorities, who, even 30 days after the disappearance have failed to send out any search party for the missing. The trail of disinterest spreads from the Australian government right the way to the Palestinian Authority itself.

Whilst other families of the missing have received some contact and support from the authorities, the Palestinian families, in Iraqi refugee camps, are still left without news of their relatives. 28 Palestinians were in the boats believed to have sunk between Indonesia and Australia.
First of all, only two boats sank; the third was rescued by Australian authorities in dangerous waters.

Secondly, I can find no source saying that any Palestinian Arabs were on the boats at all, let alone that they are the majority of those missing. Some 90-100 are thought dead in the sinkings, 28 is not the majority of 90, and that is a mighty specific number when no one knows their identities or even if they were on those specific boats.

Thirdly, it is Australian authorities who rescued the survivors; to say that there was no search party (or, as the article implies, that somehow Palestinian Arabs who are lost at sea were treated with more indifference than any of the other asylum-seekers) is absurd.

But the author needs to show how the world is indifferent to Palestinian Arabs, and he will twist whatever facts he can to do so:
For an entire month now, families of the Palestinian refugees from Iraq have been waiting for news of their family members still missing at sea. Their story is the tragedy of the ongoing Palestinian refuge issue itself. The grandparents of those missing were forced to flee their homes in the cities of Acre and Haifa in 1948 after the creation of Israel. After years of hardships, roaming from refugee camp to refugee camp in the Middle East, these families arrived, penniless and stateless, in Iraq.

In Iraq, poverty and war stayed with the refugee families until in utter despondency, their children and grandchildren once again set off escaping sectarian violence after the war on Iraq and got stuck in the middle of the sand for years on the Jordan-Iraq border. Some of them were dispatched to Brazil where they are now living in the jungle and the rest set out yet again for an unknown future towards Europe.
Israel didn't force Arabs out of Haifa, they left on their own or at the urging of their own leaders.

In Iraq, Palestinian Arabs were treated better than in most Arab countries, to the extent that they were favored under Saddam Hussein's regime. His fall led to their resentful Arab neighbors attacking and murdering them, forcing them to flee towards Syria.

But they were not allowed in, and they were stuck in squalid refugee camps administered by UNHRC which desperately tried to resettle them elsewhere. And every single Arab country refused to take them in.

Brazil was one country that did take in about 100 of them. They aren't in "the jungles of Brazil," they were settled in major cities with generous benefits and free housing.

This op-ed tries to make it sound like the Western indifference is responsible for Palestinian Arab refugee suffering, but only a little research shows that it is the Arab nations and Palestinian leadership who have actively opposed the Palestinian Arabs from becoming normal, happy citizens anywhere - including the West! The Palestinian Arabs who lived in Iraq are only the most obvious example, and yet this op-ed has nothing bad to say about the Arab nations who refused to accept even the relatively small number of PalArab refugees from Iraq.

Not only that, but the author is trying to make it sound like somehow Palestinian Arabs are being ignored, when in fact there is no refugee population - real or fake - who get even a fraction of the attention that Palestinian Arabs get  in the media, in the UN or even in the parliaments of Western democracies.

Op-eds must be fact-checked just like news stories are. In this case, Ma'an failed miserably.