If those who organise humanitarian aid to Gaza via flotillas and other blockade-breaking adventures really are about the plight of the Palestinians, I have some news for them about Arabs and even other Palestinians persecuting their own.
True humanitarians would not ignore the behaviour of Lebanon, Jordan and Libya whilst highlighting the actions of Israel.
(H/T to Elder of Ziyon for all these stories)
The first story is about Libya.
Libya has implemented a program of taxing all of its Palestinian Arab residents.According to Al Jazeera (Arabic), Palestinian Arabs in Libya are now forced to pay an annual fee of up to $1550, and they have to endure a host of new humiliations as well.
PalArabs have been banned from working in various jobs, including education. Relatives cannot visit them. Those who own cars are being taxed for more money than their monthly salaries. Travel documents are expiring and not being renewed, yet the Arab League does not allow Palestinian Arabs from obtaining passports from the countries they have lived in all their lives.
Residents note bitterly that all this is happening while Libya made a big show of sending a ship of aid to Gaza.All of this is in contradiction with Libyan Law #10 of 1998 which was supposed to grant somewhat equal rights to Palestinian Arabs in that country.
This is from a country which egregiously sits on the UN Human Rights Council.
Next in the hall of infamy is Lebanon:
According to the Elder there are “well over 100,000 Gazans in Jordan with limited rights – and no easy way to get out”.
Yes, Gazans. Gazans in a Jordanian open-air prison, Mr Cameron.
The Elder then quotes an Arab researcher called Oroub El Abed who has been documenting the plight of Palestinians:
Gazans in Jordan are doubly displaced refugees. Forced to move to Gaza as a result of the 1948 war, they fled once more when Israel occupied the Gaza Strip in 1967. Guesstimates of the number of Gazans in Jordan range between 118,000 and 150,000. A small number have entered the Jordanian citizenship scheme via naturalisation or have had the financial resources to acquire citizenship.
On arrival in Jordan, the ex-residents of Gaza were granted temporary Jordanian passports valid for two years but were not granted citizenship rights. The so-called ‘passport’ serves two purposes: it indicates to the Jordanian authorities that the Gazans and their dependents are temporary residents in Jordan and provides them with an international travel document (‘laissez-passer’) potentially enabling access to countries other than Jordan.
The ‘passport’ – which is expensive – has value as an international travel document only if receiving states permit the entry of temporary passport holders. Few countries admit them, because they have no official proof of citizenship. Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and some Gulf States are among those who refuse to honour the document. Any delay in renewing the temporary passport or in applying for one puts an individual at risk of becoming undocumented.
Since 1986 it has been harder for Gazans to compete for places in Jordanian universities as they must secure places within the 5% quota reserved for Arab foreigners. Entry to professions is blocked as Gazans are not allowed to register with professional societies/unions or to establish their own offices, firms or clinics. Only those with security clearance can gain private sector employment. Those who work in the informal sector are vulnerable to being exploited. Many Gazans are keen to leave Jordan to seek employment elsewhere but are constrained from doing so. Some have attempted to leave clandestinely.
Rami was brought up in Jordan, studied law and worked for over two years for a law firm in the West Bank city of Hebron. Lacking a West Bank Israeli-issued ID, he was forced to return to Jordan every three months to renew his visitor’s visa. Due to the high cost of living he returned to Jordan in 1999 only to find himself stripped of his Jordanian temporary passport. Now without any form of identity, he notes that “being Gazan in Jordan is like being guilty.”
In Jordan, as in most other Middle-Eastern countries, women cannot pass on their citizenship to their children. Neither is citizenship granted to a child born on the territory of a state from a foreign father. Married women are forced to depend on their fathers or husbands to process documents related to their children. Because of this patriarchal conception of citizenship, children of Jordanian women married to Gazans are at risk of being left without a legal existence.
Heba, a Jordanian national, married Ahmad, a Gazan with an Egyptian travel document. A year after their marriage, Ahmad was arrested for being in Jordan without a residence permit. Deported from Jordan, he was refused re-entry to Egypt and ended up in Sudan. Heba had a child but has been unable to register the birth due to the absence of her husband. She cannot afford to go to Sudan to be with him.
(emphasis by the Elder)
But there is more on Lebanon:
Hot on the heels of the slight easing of restrictions on professions that Arabs of Palestinian descent in Lebanon can practice, the Lebanese Forces (which are mostly Christian) are trying to ensure that PalArabs cannot live in Lebanese-owned homes:
The Lebanese Forces urged the government on Saturday to find a solution to Palestinian occupants of homes owned by Lebanese in villages east of the southern port city of Sidon.
While hailing parliament’s decision to grant Palestinians working rights, an LF statement said “the Lebanese government is urged to find a quick solution to the issue which has become an unacceptable burden.”
It said homes in Miyeh Miyeh, Darb al-Sim and other areas are occupied by Palestinians.
The government should adopt an effective solution to find alternative housing to them, the LF said.
The bigotry in Lebanon against Palestinian Arabs is so entrenched that it is not newsworthy. This isn’t about the PalArabs owning land – this is saying that they cannot even live outside camps, even if they are (apparently) paying for it!
Depending upon whose estimate you read, there are some twenty or thirty thousand “refugees” in the Balata refugee camp outside of Nablus. Balata is simultaneously the most populous and smallest of the Palestinian refugee camps — its growing population is confined to one square kilometer, making it one of the most densely populated and miserable places on the planet.
Any regime with an ounce of compassion would have shut Balata down and integrated its people into the surrounding community. Balata is a place without hope, a quagmire of despair, where the day-to-day misery of its inhabitants is partially ameliorated by Western charities and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA), while inadvertently building a culture of dependence.
Balata’s creation could ostensibly be laid at Israel’s doorstep, but its perpetuation cannot. The current residents of Balata are only refugees by a crude reworking of the meaning of the term. They themselves have fled from nothing, and sought refuge from nothing. They are the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of the people who fled or were expelled during the 1948 war.
If you want to use the term “apartheid” to characterize some aspect of Middle East politics, then Balata is a good place to apply it. It is the Palestinian Authority’s answer to Soweto.
The PA does not permit the children of Balata to go to local schools. It does not permit the people of Balata to build outside the one square kilometer. The people of Balata are prevented from voting in local elections, and the PA provides none of the funds for the necessary infrastructure of the camp — including sewers and roads.
Balata and the other refugee camps are showcases of contrived misery. They are Potemkin villages in reverse. Naïve peace activists and unsophisticated Western clergy are led through such camps to witness the refugee drama, with Israel conveniently and prominently cast in the role of villain.
Yet we always hear the media and Palestinian huggers everywhere banging on about Israeli apartheid.
And let’s not forget the Egyptians who, of course, are the forgotten jailers of the Gazans, after all, if you are complaining about freedom of movement of Gazans, then why don’t the Egyptians open the Rafah crossing for them?
Oroub El Abed writes that ‘Some 50,000 Palestinian refugees live in Egypt without UN assistance or protection and burdened by many restrictive laws and regulations. Little is known about their plight and their unique status’.
El Abed believes in the mythical Right of Return but she pulls no punches about how Palestinians are treated by fellow Arabs.
The continuing plight of the Palestinians is not all down to history or the Israelis; the Arabs and the Palestinians themselves bear huge responsibility for perpetuating refugee-hood as a weapon against Israeli in total disregard of the lives and livelihood of millions of Palestinians.
And when the UN agency set up specifically and uniquely to deal with Palestinian ‘refugees’ tries to improve their lives in Gaza, they have to face Hamas’ interpretation of Islam which condemns the very people that are there to help them. The Elder lists complaints in the Palestine Times, a Hamas-run newspaper:
– The creation of a UNRWA Women’s Committee meant to foster equal rights between men and women is really meant to end chastity and purity.
– UNRWA sometimes sponsors trips for students where they are in danger of meeting Jews and Zionists.
– UNRWA schools were rumored to have taught about the Holocaust which teaches students to sympathize with Jews
– Some schools have more females than males, causing them to have more female teachers than male teachers
– UNRWA salaries are too high
– UNRWA’s services have decreased as their budget gets stretched.
And it is into the arms of these people that the flotillas and convoys are running. They don’t even seem to have their story right. Are they going to bring humanitarian aid (which they can take to an Israeli port without confrontation) or are they just intent on confrontation and provocation?
Their real motivation is to destroy Israel first, help Gazans a poor second. Indeed, each flotilla and convoy is an exercise in hypocrisy and exploitation of the very people they claim to want to help.