Since 1949, the Arab regimes have consistently resisted the settlement and assimilation of Palestinians, wanting instead to maintain them as a dagger aimed at Israel. Today sees a stunning new confirmation of this ugly pattern, this time from Saudi Arabia. P.K. Abdul Ghafour reports in the Jeddah-based Arab News that senior Saudi officials are indicating that 8.8 million expatriates of all nationalities who have lived in the Kingdom for ten years can, according to an amended law, passed by the Council of Ministers on Oct. 18, apply for Saudi citizenship. Degree holders in medicine, computer science and other branches of science and technology will have priority when the new law goes into effect in four months.
Shubaily ibn Majdoue Al-Qarni, chairman of the committee that supervised this amendment, emphasized that all workers, regardless of nationality, are eligible for Saudi citizenship. "The law does not aim at a particular nationality. On the other hand, it covers all expatriates in the country."
Well, almost all: "the naturalization law would not be applicable to Palestinians living in the Kingdom as the Arab League has instructed that Palestinians living in Arab countries should not be given citizenship to avoid dissolution of their identity and protect their right to return to their homeland. Diplomatic sources have estimated the number of Palestinians in the Kingdom at about 500,000." (October 21, 2004)