Palestinians In Exile

Canada- “We are always in support of the Palestinian cause and steadfastness, and we are continuing our efforts for peace and the well-being of the Palestinian people.” Such phrases frequently come out from most of Arab officials when talking about Palestine, and it comes with enthusiasm that makes one believe that they are ready to sacrifice everything for that cause, but is that really true? While most of the people in the Arab nations emotionally sympathize with Palestinians, their governments’ actions in reality demonstrate a near hate toward Palestinians.

Firstly, there is a fundamental difference between supporting the Palestinian cause and supporting the Palestinians as people. The cause itself is a complicated issue that involves social and political factors in addition to the involvement of other countries like Israel and the United States, and supporting this cause must be in the form of political negotiations between all parties involved. What about the Palestinians’ situation during this period of negotiations? Supporting Palestinians can be done financially and through the building of schools, hospitals and such.

Second, there are at least five million Palestinians who live outside of West Bank, Gaza Strip and Israel. Those five million are scattered around the world, and some of them already obtained different nationalities. Ironically, Palestinians who are living in Arab states like Jordan, Syria, Egypt and KSA are the less fortunate. Most of these Palestinians don’t carry a Palestinian passport issued by the Palestinian Authority; instead they carry travel documents issued by some Arab countries, primarily Egypt and Syria.

The Arab countries, especially the Gulf ones specialize in making the lives of those people a living hell, depriving them from their fundamental rights of movement and right to work. While the situation is relatively better in countries like Egypt and Syria, we find that those Palestinians are not even allowed into the Gulf countries, except for the few lucky ones that obtained residency in these countries long time ago, and even those are subject to removal at any time without even notice.

As we mentioned before, the situation in Syria and Egypt is much better than the other Arab countries,;however there are still some restrictions that applies to those refugees. For example, Egypt issued a law that grants the children of Egyptian women the Egyptian nationality; however only Palestinians were exempt from this decision, which violates human rights and even the Egyptian norm. Later, however, a court issued an order of granting them the nationality as per all others.

In Lebanon, there are over 400,000 Palestinians, who live there as refugees; these people are barred from many job categories and professions, including medicine, law and engineering. They are not allowed to own properties or lands, and some need special permits to leave their refugee camps even though some of these Palestinians have the means to support themselves and will not be a burden on the government.

And when it comes to Gulf countries, it becomes a completely different story; only Palestinians who carry passports issued by the Palestinian Authority (people who lives in the West Bank and Gaza Strip) are allowed into the GCC countries, and even then the visa is not issued that easily. As for the other Palestinians, it’s impossible for them to enter the GCC countries for any reason. They can’t visit, work live, and sometimes even transit in these countries. Last year a group of Palestinians were stuck at Dubai International Airport for as long as 46 Days, they were awaiting permission from Egyptian officials to return to Palestine through the Rafah border, and the authorities in UAE refused to allow them to even enter the country forcing them to spend 46 days in an airport.

Some might say that because of the complicated situation in Palestine, some people might be a threat to some of these countries, but it is doubtful that all Palestinians are considered a threat to the GCC countries. I traveled to 16 different countries around the world; I studied computer science in Egypt and am currently doing my MBA in Canada. I have been to Europe and the United States several times, I have a clean criminal record and I have worked in multinational companies. However, I am not currently allowed to enter Kuwait for example to visit many of my relatives that lives there. Why?
Because I am Palestinian! I received a job offer from a multinational company in Saudi Arabia, but the moment my nationality came into conversation, I received a call saying that it will not work out for that reason. Why? Because I am Palestinian! I have relatives scattered all over the GCC countries, but do I dare even to think of going there to visit them? No. Why? Because I am Palestinian!

There are many more examples that demonstrate how Arab countries treat Palestinians, and yet they go around giving speeches and announcements of their support to the cause and the people, but unfortunately it’s not true. At the same time they grant foreigners from other nationalities more rights than they give to Palestinians that lived in their countries for years. This automatically redirects those people to other countries that will treat them fairly and will compensate them for their efforts and talents.

Osama Deeb

Osama is a business professional that was born and raised in Egypt, he currently resides in Canada. Osama tweets here.

Comments

  1. Hope you are grateful to your kafir host nation, i.e.Canada for allowing you to stay and given the same rights as other nationals in that country.
    How are arab treated in Israel. Worse or better than Palastenians in Kuwait

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