The Corner

No Citizenship for You!

I remember an Armenian acquaintance from Syria telling me once how unjust it was that the Palestinian refugees in the Middle East (and their descendants) were not given citizenship and allowed to integrate into the Arab states where they lived: “They even gave us citizenship, for heaven’s sake,” meaning Armenian survivors of the Turk genocide, who were neither Arabs nor Muslims.

That came to mind again when I read that even those Palestinians classified as refugees who are living on the West Bank and Gaza would not receive citizenship in the phony Palestinian state, if it ever comes to fruition. The point is that these people (and their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, et al.) must remain forever pawns in the eternal drive to exterminate Israel.

Judith Levy, an American immigrant to Israel who wrote the Ricochet post I linked to, is frustrated, commenting on the admirable qualities of the Palestinian workers building her house and blaming the political problem on “a pathologically weak-minded leadership” among the Palestinians. I’m afraid that’s naive. Palestinian individuals have the same range of good and bad characteristics as any other large group of people. But the collective Palestinian identity (which has developed into a real national identity, despite claims to the contrary) necessarily entails the goal of exterminating Israel. After all, the Arabs living there had no national identity until Israel gave them a reason to have one — to destroy Israel. This is why, for instance, the logo of the Palestinian mission to the UN shows all the land between the Jordan and the sea as Palestine.

In fact, I wonder if the Arab public would stand for any effort to give citizenship to Palestinian refugees and their descendants. Let’s say we sprinkle unicorn dust over Syria and Assad is ousted and liberal democracy blooms there and the new regime wants to give extend Syrian citizenship to long-resident Palestinians, integrating them politically — would the Syrian public even stand for that? I think Jew-hatred is so deeply rooted in the Arab and broader Islamic world that even governments that would want to help end the citizenship limbo of Palestinian refugees and their descendants would hesitate, fearing popular uprisings and Islamist attack.

Mark Krikorian — Mark Krikorian, a nationally recognized expert on immigration issues, has served as Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) since 1995.

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