The Arab world and the Palestinians

Former Time reporter in Iran Azadeh Moaveni was interviewed on NPR today, and she said that the Arab world is angry at the US because of its support for Israeli “mistreatment” of Palestinians. But how do the Arabs treat the Palestinians in their own countries?


LONDON (AFP) – Thousands of Palestinian refugees in Iraq have been ill-treated, with many of them abducted, tortured and murdered by armed Shiite Muslim groups, Amnesty International said in a report published Monday.

“Palestinian refugees in Iraq have been subjected to gross human rights abuses including abduction, hostage-taking, unlawful killing, torture and other ill-treatment at the hands of armed militia groups,” it said.

Nahr al-Bared refugee campLebanon

Eli Bakhya, the cameraman who entered the [Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee] camp, said he was able to go only about a kilometre into the camp, and that the presence of snipers prevented him from going any farther and they were stuck in the middle.

He said buildings everywhere were destroyed.

Walid Abdullah, a nurse taking care of casualties in the camp, said the situation was disastrous.

He said the bombardment from the army was targeting civilians and that three mosques were hit.

“Many dead bodies are lying on the streets,” he said. “They are bloated and smelling and there is a threat of epidemics.” Al-Jazeera [May 22]

The Nahar al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp was wrecked, and Al-Jazeera reported today that “More than 400 people have died in the fighting between the Lebanese army and Fatah al-Islam, including at least 222 fighters”.


At the end of the Gulf War Kuwait expelled some 400,000 Palestinians because the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat had aligned the PLO with Saddam Hussein, who had invaded Kuwait. The exodus took place during one week in March 1991, after Kuwait was liberated from Iraqi occupation. Although many Palestinians had joined the Kuwaiti resistance to Iraq’s occupation, they were scapegoated and blamed for the the position adopted by the PLO leader…

Prior to the exodus, Palestinians made up about 30% of Kuwait’s population. By 2006 only a few had returned to Kuwait and today the number of Palestinians living in Kuwait is less than 40,000 (under 3% of the population). — Wikipedia


The Syrian government…has refused to allow the Palestinians [refugees from the fighting in Iraq] entry into the country, leaving the refugees stranded at the border. Hundreds more are expected to attempt to make the journey.

“It’s hard to understand why Syria has provided refuge to nearly a million Iraqi refugees but is shutting the door on hundreds of Palestinians also fleeing Iraq,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “The Syrian government’s mistreatment of these Palestinian refugees contrasts sharply with its declarations of solidarity with the Palestinian people.” — Human Rights Watch

…and in general

Since 1948 the Arab nations (with the exception of Jordan) have never agreed to grant Palestinian refugees citizenship in their host countries, or allowed them freedom to work in occupations of their choice, or even freedom of movement. They have done their best to breed a mass of humanity kept miserable so that they will be a source of recruits for terrorist organizations and a weapon to use against Israel. Indeed, HRWs Whitson could have said with equal truth “The Arab nations’ mistreatment of these Palestinian refugees contrasts sharply with their declarations of solidarity with the Palestinian people”.

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