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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Lebanon's unique arrangements with the 'Palestinians'

The destruction of the Nahr el-Bared terrorist camp near Tripoli, Lebanon has brought to light the very different conditions under which 'Palestinian' 'refugees' live in Lebanon as compared with other countries in the Arab world.

Hat Tip: Ms. Levantine
Instead of rebuilding the house these Palestinians destroyed — as the United Nations is already agitating to do — another choice is to raze what's left to the ground, return the land to its rightful Lebanese owners as compensation, and, most important, begin rolling back an appalling transgression on the sovereignty of Lebanon that, with the conniving of the world community, has gone on far too long.

Under a bizarre agreement worked out by the League of Arab States, for nearly three decades hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arab refugees have lived in camps inside Lebanon where, by law, neither the Lebanese army nor the Lebanese state have jurisdiction of any kind. These "guests of Lebanon," as Arabs so fondly call them, are free to come and go with weapons, to train as guerrillas, and to use their dwellings as sanctuary for legal or illegal acts — no questions asked.

No other Arab country has ever agreed to such terms of shelter. Certainly not Jordan, which has nearly 1 million Palestinian Arab refugees, nor Syria, which is harboring tens of thousands. The secret police mandate runs wide and deep for Palestinian Arab encampments in those two countries. Indeed, back in September 1970, the late King Hussein of Jordan spent nearly a year disarming the camps in his country by burning them down— and won universal Arab applause for doing so.

The late, unlamented Yasser Arafat was undeterred when he fled to Lebanon, from which he once used the camps to stock arms, indoctrinate his people in terrorism, and, eventually, wage war on Lebanon and Israel — until he was kicked out [by Israel CiJ] and forced to move to Tunisia.

Yet in the face of such Palestinian Arab irresponsibility — and of a 15-year Lebanese civil war largely provoked by its Palestinians — the rest of the Arab world has insisted that Lebanon remains an exception to the rule of sovereignty.


What seems to make more sense is taking away the Palestinian Arabs' "toys" — their weapons and ability to run indoctrination centers in Lebanon — and simply have one camp fewer. The camp's land should be turned over to Tripoli's merchant and tourist industries, both of which lost tens of millions of dollars while the Palestinians were having their shooting party.

But there's more to the Cold River episode that speaks to its exploitation by fellow Arabs. During this bloody chapter, the camp was taken over by jihadists who included, among others, Saudis, Iraqis, Syrians, and Jordanians, in addition to Palestinian Arabs. It was left to Lebanon to clean up the mess and pay the price for petty internecine Arab skirmishing on other people's lands.
What makes sense to me is to get rid of the 'refugee camps' throughout Lebanon, make those 'Palestinians' who want to stay there Lebanese citizens (nearly sixty years too late) and subject them to Lebanese law like any other Lebanese citizen who lives in the country, and resettle the rest elsewhere. And then the same should be done in Jordan, Syria, Iraq and any other country in which there are 'Palestinian refugees.' The charade that the 'Palestinians' will one day return to homes their grandparents abandoned in Haifa, Jaffa, Akko and other Israeli cities harms everyone concerned - except the Arab dictatorships that use it to blind their people to their own abuses of power.


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