US, Not Arab Countries, to Receive Palestinian Refugees from Iraq

The Obama administration, in a precedent-setting move, has approved resettlement in the U.S. for 1,350 Palestinian refugees from Iraq. But before this becomes a done deal, Congress and the media ought to ask the White House and the State Department why these refugees, rather than being granted asylum in the U.S., shouldn't get immigration visas to Arab countries, especially those with immense oil wealth.

Wouldn't that be a more logical, more natural destination for these refugees?

Thousands of these Palestinians lived for many years in Iraq under the generous protection of Saddam Hussein -- and repaid him in kind with their loyalty and support. When Hussein was dethroned, they fell from grace.  The welcome mat suddenly was yanked away by Iraqi Shiites and others who had suffered under Hussein. Some Palestinians fled abroad, especially those with means; others ended up as refugees in miserable border camps in Syria and Jordan, which refuse to absorb them into their general populations.

White House reporters should ask President Obama, who has twice met with Saudi King Abdullah this year, whether he urged the Saudi monarch to welcome these refugees.  After all, Saudi Arabia is in the Sunni Arab camp; so are Palestinians.  Why shouldn't as rich a country as Saudi Arabia be expected to welcome a few thousand of these Palestinians?  Or what about Kuwait or other oil-rich sheikdoms along the Persian Gulf?

Why are these Palestinian refugees having to be resettled in the U.S. instead of in their more natural milieu -- in Arab countries that constantly trumpet their great solicitude for their well-being (but hardly ever deliver)?

The truth is that Arab leaders feel no real kinship or solidarity with Palestinians.  They have exploited them as pawns to use in their century-old campaign to deny Jews their sovereign rights as a nation in the Middle East.  But otherwise, they have no use for them.  No "empathy," as Obama might say.

Just examine the fine print of the so-called Arab "peace" initative, which predicates normal relations with Israel on a "right of return" for Palestinian refugees into Israel, while stipulating that each Arab nation reserves the right to deny them "patriation" within its own borders.   

Now contrast this poor-relation treatment of Palestinians by fellow Arabs with Israel's welcoming hand to hundreds of thousands of Jews who were persecuted, forced to surrender their possessions and booted out of Arab countries in mid-20th Century -- Jews whose families had lived in some of these Arab countries for centuries before the advent of Islam.

Israel opened its doors to these Sephardic Jews and fully integrated them into Israeli society.  Today, these refugees from Arab lands and their descendants comprise half of Israel's Jewish population.

And Israel managed to do all this without membership in OPEC.