No Palestinian “Refugee” Will Ever Be a Citizen of Palestine


UPDATE: THIS BLOG IS BEING PUBLISHED AT 9:00 AM MONDAY HERE IN ISRAEL. GILAD SHALIT IS SCHEDULED TO BE SEEN BY IDF REPRESENTATIVES IN THE SINAI DESERT IN EXACTLY 24 HOURS. AT 11:00 AM TOMORROW MORNING, SHALIT IS SCHEDULED TO ENTER ISRAEL.

Why are these Palestinians celebrating possible statehood? Most of them would not become citizens of "Palestine" anyway.

Why are these Palestinians celebrating possible statehood? Most of them would not become citizens of "Palestine" anyway.

Your humble servant wonders if you realize, dear reader, the incredible level of discrimination that exists within Palestinian society between those Palestinians who are classified as “refugees” and those who are not.

It is discrimination that was underlined in a startling interview given last week by the PLO/Palestinian Ambassador to Lebanon to the Lebanese Daily Star newspaper (read interview). In that interview, Abdullah Abdullah said that in any new Palestinian state, Palestinian “refugees” living in the “West Bank”, Gaza, or anywhere else in the world would not be able to become Palestinian citizens and would certainly never be issued a Palestinian passport.

Did you understand that dear reader? Your humble servant had to read it twice to understand it himself.

In a new state of Palestine, no Palestinian who is currently classified as a “refugee” will be accorded citizenship.

Remember all of the celebrations that took place in the Samarian Palestinian cities of Balata, Kalandiya, Bureij, and Nuseirat when PLO head Mahmoud Abbas made his speech at the United Nations? Well guess what? Every Palestinian who comes from those cities would be excluded from the new state of Palestine.

In fact, “refugee” refers to every Palestinian classified as a “refugee” by UNRWA. The number of Palestinian “refugees” by country according to UNRWA (in January 2010) were as follows:

  • Jordan 1,983,733 (of which 293,893 live in 10 UNRWA so-called “refugee camps”)
  • Lebanon 425,640 (of which 225,125 live in 12 UNRWA so-called “refugee camps”) 
  • Syria 472,109 (of which 119,776 live in 10 UNRWA so-called “refugee camps”)
  • Judea and Samaria (West Bank) 778,993 (of which 194,514 live in 19 UNRWA so-called “refugee camps”)
  • Gaza Strip 1,106,195 (of which 478,854 live in 8 UNRWA so-called “refugee camps”)

None of these Palestinians, whether living in a so-called “refugee camp” or not, would become a citizen of a new country of Palestine. 

And this does not count the other self-proclaimed Palestinian “refugees” living around the world.

By the way, the reason that I put the word “refugee” in quotation marks is that, as we all know, most of these people are not “refugees” in the real sense of the word. They are the second, third, and even fourth generation descendants of Arabs who decided to leave Israel during Israel’s War For Independence in 1948 (remember that about half of all Palestinian Arabs decided not to leave Israel–and became the Arab Israelis that live in Israel today; other Palestinians remained in Judea and Samaria).

In any case, all of this begs two questions:

1. How many Palestinians would actually become citizens of a country of Palestine? In reality, we are talking about only the non-refugee Palestinians in Judea and Samaria, and the non-refugee Palestinians in Gaza.

If we use the most wildly inflated population number produced by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, there are 3.9 million Palestinians in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. UNRWA lists 1,885,188 of these as refugees. This leaves 2,014,812 people who would become Palestinian citizens.

2. Why would a future state of Palestine deny citizenship to its own people? Because the “native” Palestinians do not want the”refugee” Palestinians to live in Palestine; they want them to live in Israel. Hence, the intense discrimination that has existed in Judea and Samaria and in Gaza for the last 63 years, during which time Palestinians have been forced by their fellow Palestinians to live in so-called “refugee camps.” 

But more importantly, the reason that Palestinians will not give citizenship to their fellow Palestinians is that they do not merely want a “Palestine”; they want Israel too.

Vocabulary Reminder:

1. Use ‘Judea and Samaria’ instead of ‘the West Bank.

2. Use ‘Jewish community’ instead of settlement.

3.  Use ‘construction of Jewish homes, schools, and hospitals’ instead of settlement activity.

4. Use ‘new Jewish communities’ instead of outposts‘.

5. Use ‘Jewish community member’ instead of settler.

6. Use ‘conservative politicians’ instead of right-wing politicians‘. 

7. Use ‘PLO’ or  ‘Palestine Liberation Organization’ instead of Palestinian Authority.

8. Use ‘Palestinian Islamic Terrorist Organization–HAMAS’ instead of merely Hamas.

9. Use ‘Israeli men, women, and children’ instead of  Israeli citizens.

10. Use ‘Palestinian cities’ instead of  Palestinian refugee camps.

 

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