Those 'other refugees' in Arab-Muslim lands

While "moderate" Fatah ended its convention with business as usual -- "Constant war against Israel," "No peace with Israel," mimicking its most "extreme" rival Hamas, and both of them moaning about the "refugees" of 61 years, the real refugees, the Jews in Arab lands living under Muslim oppression, are forced once again to run for their lives

The latest are the tiny remnant of Jews remaining in Yemen, fleeing after continuous oppression including forcible pressures to convert to Islam led to kidnappings and murders. After the latest murder, the remaining Jews are going to Israel the Yemeni new agency Sana admits. What Yemini news reports don't mention is, that unlike Arabs in Lebanon and other Arab lands, the fleeing Jews won't be refugees but welcomed as citizens of Israel.

Three relatives of the Jew killed late last year in northern Yemen have left the country for Israel, a departure which comes amid a mini-exodus triggered by alleged harassment.

Chief Rabbi in the district of Ridah, Amran, brother of the victim Moshe Yaish al-Nahari, Yahya Yaish said he was aware about the departure of the three sons of Moshe most recently, adding all Jews in the area are preparing to leave for Israel within the next days.

Harassment has been stepped up against Jews in the districts of Amran and Kharef, with some of the Jews killed and others kidnapped, he claimed.


So far this year, some Jewish families left for Israel, some of them secretly.

All behind the fleeing was fear of persecution.

After the latest murders a few months ago, the Jews relocated to a larger town in Yemen, leaving behind their few belongings; now they are being allowed to flee the country, again with nothing but their lives and the clothes on their backs.

This is a sad--but typical end for a Jewish community in an Arab/Muslim land. According to Mitchell Bard, writing in Jewish Virtual Library, the ancient Yeminite Jewish community numbered about 63,000 in 1948 but

In 1922, the government of Yemen reintroduced an ancient Islamic law requiring that Jewish orphans under age 12 be forcibly converted to Islam.

In 1947, after the partition vote, Muslim rioters, joined by the local police force, engaged in a bloody pogrom in Aden that killed 82 Jews and destroyed hundreds of Jewish homes. Aden's Jewish community was economically paralyzed, as most of the Jewish stores and businesses were destroyed. Early in 1948, the false accusation of the ritual murder of two girls led to looting.2

This increasingly perilous situation led to the emigration of virtually the entire Yemenite Jewish community - almost 50,000 - between June 1949 and September 1950 in Operation "Magic Carpet." A smaller, continuous migration was allowed to continue into 1962, when a civil war put an abrupt halt to any further Jewish exodus.
The Israelis will welcome their refugee brethren and soon they won't be refugees.

But 61 years after Arabs, heeding their leaders' call to leave as they would soon return to a land of defeated Jews, left what is now Israel, the Arabs are still refugees; their Arab/Muslim brethren refusing them citizenship. Even Jordan, that artificial country whose population is mainly Arab/Muslim, restricts citizenship. (Incidentally by law, Jews cannot be citizens of and/or live in Jordan. And no UN or human rights outcry.) Some, very few, thoughtful Arabs such as Daoud Al-Shiryan, secretary-general of Al-Arabiya TV are bravely--and tentatively--trying new thinking. Middle East Research Institute (MEMRI) translated several of his recent columns.

"Objecting to [refugee] resettlement is no different than objecting to peace. It is nothing but an unrealistic slogan. The Arabs have agreed to peace, although they realize that there cannot be peace without [refugee] resettlement. But they disregard this fact, viewing the refugee issue as a point of controversy, when it is [actually] a central and key issue in the peace process. The fear [of being accused of renouncing the nationalist] slogans [calling for] struggle, resistance, and casting Israel into the sea - slogans which emerged at the outset of the peace process with Israel - and the link that has been established between the issue [of resettlement] and ethnic and political problems in some [Arab] countries - have [all] become an obstacle to a realistic and honest approach to the issue.

"Arabs who object to the [refugee] resettlement plan contend that they are motivated by their zealous devotion to the Right of Return. But they have not lifted a finger to keep this right alive in the consciousness of the Palestinian 'detainees' in the camps of abasement. As a result, this spurious devotion has evoked the opposite reaction: a Palestinian [refugee] now hopes to emigrate to America, Europe, Canada, or Australia in order to escape the hell of the Palestinian refugee camps, which have played a part in killing his will to live.

But these attitudes are rare--and unfortunately dangerous to discuss in an Arab/Muslim land. So most of the Arabs will continue to remain in squalid refugee areas while the Jewish refugees finally have a decent future.


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