We have written in many past posts that the Palestinians are kept as refugees from generation to generation to fuel Arab hatred toward the Jewish people and to serve as the sore in Israel’s side. So I am completely stunned to read at the Times this account of Iraqi Palestinian’s anger toward Arab countries and other Muslim groups for not helping them. These Palestinians trapped in a no-man’s land between Syria and Iraq are speaking out.
Arab solidarity is not a phrase that Salim Ahmad wants to hear any more. On a battered television inside a windblown tent he watches with scepticism as the crowds demonstrate in the streets of Damascus over Israel’s war in Gaza.
“If they really cared anything for Palestinians, they would not leave us here in this terrible place,” he said, gesturing around him. “Don’t tell me about solidarity when nobody cares that we are here at all.”
For the past three years this desolate spot between the Iraqi and Syrian border posts has served as home to hundreds of Palestinians fleeing persecution in Iraq. Favoured by Saddam Hussein as proof of his solidarity with the Palestinian cause, they were among the first targets of vengeful Shia militia after the fall of the regime.
When they tried to flee to Syria, however, they found their paths blocked. While Iraq citizens swanned through the border post Palestinians were turned back, unable to enter Syria but unable to return to Iraq either. Stateless and without passports the Palestinians sat down where they were dumped, in the walled-off layby by the road between the two glowering border posts.
Shiia Muslim Militia men (no doubt displaying that famous Muslim charity toward fellow Muslims) captured some of the Palestinians:
“They shouted screw Palestine, screw Jerusalem,” Mr Abdullah said. “They said, ‘We want to empty Iraq of Palestinians’.”
When the UN wanted to set up more comfortable camps for the displaced Iraqi Palestinians, other fellow Muslims in a Muslim country disallowed it.
The Syrian authorities forbid the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from providing any help that might make the camp more permanent, so the refugees live in tents by the side of the road.
Now for the astounding truth:
Resettling the refugees was not an option then. “Resettlement is a dirty word when it comes to the Palestinians,” Laurens Jolles, the head of the UN refugee mission in Damascus, said. The Palestinian Authority and the governments of Arab states oppose resettlement on grounds of political principle, an abrogation of the right to return to Palestine and an abandonment of hopes of a Palestinian state. “We don’t agree with that,” Mr Jolles said.
Neither do the refugees.”We don’t have a nationality, a passport, a home,” Mr Ahmad said. “We want to be settled. Who are they to tell us what is good for Palestinians? No Arab country wants us so if a European one does then I will go there. It is about our children’s future.”
The government in Gaza is a hypocrite!
“We wanted to end our isolation from the world,” Yunis, one of them said. Another member of the group contacted news organisations when the Gaza protests began, telling them: “The Government are hypocrites. We are Palestinians and they don’t care about us at all.”
Now if only more news organizations would join the Times in telling the truth we would be making major strides in bringing peace to the Middle East.
Here are some of our previous posts on the plight of the Iraqi Palestinians.