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Reader comment on item: Count Palestine Refugees?

Submitted by Peter Herz (United States), May 31, 2012 at 05:37

Every Arab state and revolutionary movement has used the plight of the Falastin refugees/descendants as a means to whip up hatred of Israel, the USA, and anyone else they don't happen to like at the moment. Even our good, subsidized friend Mubarak played this game; and our new "friends" in the liberated post-Qaddafi Libya will probably play it, too.

It should be a mandatory talking point for every US diplomat to point out that the USA has given passport-holding, voting rights, public office eligible citizenship to more victims and descendants of an-Nakhbar than any seven Arabic-speaking countries excluding Jordan, the PA, and Israel. And let's not forget that any such stateless Arab-origin person who ends up as a US permanent resident can buy a house, car, farm, or whatever in his own name without a citizen co-signor.

The continuing statelessness of the descendants of the Arab disaster of 1948 is all the more inexcusable when one considers how, not too long ago, Delhi-born Parvez Musharaf and Lahore-born Manmohan Singh sat down together to discuss defusing South Asian tensions. Further, let's not forget the Mizrahi Jews, who, with their offspring, are now no-questions-asked Israelis (perhaps the most glaring "asymmetry" in Middle Eastern relations). Before the late 1940's, there were the Greek-Turkish exchanges of population. Come to think of it, shortly after 1948, Turkey had to absorb an inflow of Muslim Bulgarians, accepted Kyrgyz and Kazakh refugees from Eastern Turkistan, and now they and their offspring are no-questions-asked Turks. If so many other countries absorbed refugees, there is no reason why the Arab states cannot.

I also understand that the proposed West Bank/Gaza Falastin Arab state plans to refuse citizenship to those whose roots lay inside pre-1967 Israel (correct me if I'm wrong, please). If this is indeed the case, I would urge the immediate suspension of any and all support to both UNRWA and the PA.

There is a workable solution for the problem of Palestinian "refugees", and that is their being granted permanent residence status and eventual naturalization in the countries where they already live.


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