In Jordan, in what is reminiscent of pre-World-War-II Nazi policy towards Jews, Palestinians who move from the West Bank to the kingdom are issued yellow ID cards to distinguish them. Since 1988, thousands of yellow-ID-card-carrying Palestinians have been prevented from becoming permanent Jordanian residents. In 2009, Jordan’s Interior Minister, Nayef al-Kadi, explained that the policy’s “goal is to prevent Israel from emptying the Palestinian territories of their original inhabitants.… We are fulfilling our national duty[.]”
In Saudi Arabia, an estimated 500,000 Palestinians are not allowed to hold or even apply for citizenship. Adding insult to injury, a law passed by Saudi Arabia’s Council of Ministers in October 2004, entitling expatriates of all nationalities residing in the kingdom for ten years to apply for citizenship, explicitly excluded Palestinians. Why? Because of Arab League instructions “to avoid dissolution of their identity and protect their right to return to their homeland.”
In 1991, at the end of the Gulf War, Kuwait expelled some 450,000 Palestinians, a response to the alliance forged between Yasser Arafat’s PLO and Saddam Hussein, who had earlier invaded Kuwait.
The list goes on and on; and with each example, life under Israeli “occupation” becomes all the more attractive. In the words of Alan Dershowitz:
[T]he residents of Gaza are far better off than the residents of many Arab areas in the Middle East. Medical care is better, infant mortality is lower, longevity is higher, employment is increasing, cars are plentiful, food is more available and the quality of water and air is higher.… [And] the only Arabs in the region whose lives, in every respect, are better than those who live in Gaza, are the citizens of the West Bank.
The general indifference towards, if not purposeful repression of, Palestinians in Arab countries has been compounded by the upheavals currently taking place throughout the Middle East (i.e. the “Arab Spring”). This, coupled with the fact that Palestinian society is largely maintained by Western aid, suggests that the time is ripe for the West to impose its own terms on the Palestinians, specifically that the Palestinian leadership recognize Israel’s legitimacy as a prerequisite to statehood, rather than continue to acquiesce to Arab countries, whose commitment to the Palestinian cause is questionable at best.
In other words, it is time to call the Arabs’ bluff.
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