click here to jump to start of article
  • Torah Reading: Naso
Join Our Newsletter

Get latest articles and videos with Jewish inspiration and insights​

An Arab-Made Misery

An Arab-Made Misery

It is time for the Arab world to truly help the Palestinians, not use them.


International donors pledged almost $4.5 billion in aid for Gaza earlier this month. It has been very painful for me to witness over the past few years the deteriorating humanitarian situation in that narrow strip where I lived as a child in the 1950s.

The media tend to attribute Gaza's decline solely to Israeli military and economic actions against Hamas. But such a myopic analysis ignores the problem's root cause: 60 years of Arab policy aimed at cementing the Palestinian people's status as stateless refugees in order to use their suffering as a weapon against Israel.

As a child in Gaza in the 1950s, I experienced the early results of this policy. Egypt, which then controlled the territory, conducted guerrilla-style operations against Israel from Gaza. My father commanded these operations, carried out by Palestinian fedayeen, Arabic for "self-sacrifice." Back then, Gaza was already the front line of the Arab jihad against Israel. My father was assassinated by Israeli forces in 1956.

It was in those years that the Arab League started its Palestinian refugee policy. Arab countries implemented special laws designed to make it impossible to integrate the Palestinian refugees from the 1948 Arab war against Israel. Even descendants of Palestinian refugees who are born in another Arab country and live there their entire lives can never gain that country's passport. Even if they marry a citizen of an Arab country, they cannot become citizens of their spouse's country. They must remain "Palestinian" even though they may have never set foot in the West Bank or Gaza.

This policy of forcing a Palestinian identity on these people for eternity and condemning them to a miserable life in a refugee camp was designed to perpetuate and exacerbate the Palestinian refugee crisis.

So was the Arab policy of overpopulating Gaza. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, whose main political support comes from Arab countries, encourages high birth rates by rewarding families with many children. Yasser Arafat said the Palestinian woman's womb was his best weapon.

For 60 years, Palestinians have been used and abused by Arab regimes and Palestinian terrorists in their fight against Israel.

Arab countries always push for classifying as many Palestinians as possible as "refugees." As a result, about one-third of the Palestinians in Gaza still live in refugee camps. For 60 years, Palestinians have been used and abused by Arab regimes and Palestinian terrorists in their fight against Israel.

Now it is Hamas, an Islamist terror organization supported by Iran, which is using and abusing Palestinians for this purpose. While Hamas leaders hid in the well-stocked bunkers and tunnels they prepared before they provoked Israel into attacking them, Palestinian civilians were exposed and caught in the deadly crossfire between Hamas and Israeli soldiers.

As a result of 60 years of this Arab policy, Gaza has become a prison camp for 1.5 million Palestinians. Both Israel and Egypt are fearful of terrorist infiltration from Gaza -- all the more so since Hamas took over -- and have always maintained tight controls over their borders with Gaza. The Palestinians continue to endure hardships because Gaza continues to serve as the launching pad for terror attacks against Israeli citizens. Those attacks come in the form of Hamas missiles that indiscriminately target Israeli kindergartens, homes and businesses.

And Hamas continued these attacks more than two years after Israel withdrew from Gaza in the hope that this step would begin the process of building a Palestinian state, eventually leading to a peaceful, two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There was no "cycle of violence" then, no justification for anything other than peace and prosperity. But instead, Hamas chose Islamic jihad. Gazans' and Israelis' hopes have been met with misery for Palestinians and missiles for Israelis.

Hamas, an Iran proxy, has become a danger not only to Israel, but also to Palestinians as well as to neighboring Arab states, who fear the spread of radical Islam could destabilize their countries.

Arabs claim they love the Palestinian people, but they seem more interested in sacrificing them. If they really loved their Palestinian brethren, they'd pressure Hamas to stop firing missiles at Israel. In the longer term, the Arab world must end the Palestinians' refugee status and thereby their desire to harm Israel. It's time for the 22 Arab countries to open their borders and absorb the Palestinians of Gaza who wish to start a new life. It is time for the Arab world to truly help the Palestinians, not use them.

March 21, 2009

Give Tzedakah! Help create inspiring
articles, videos and blogs featuring timeless Jewish wisdom.
The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 33

(31) Mohiuddin, June 4, 2012 7:05 AM

Stop all rubbish talks

I read all those and find these as nonsense. How could you suggest other Arab countries to absorb the palestinian people? This would only help to weaken the Palestinians' legitimate demand for their homeland which is now occupied unjustifiedly by Israel. The only solution for peace in middle-east is to give back palestinian people their lands. How is it supportable that the people of a particular religion from all over the world and of different nationality gather in one place, occupy others land by force and ask the deprived people to take shelter in other countires and take thier nationality. Stop all those propaganda, which would not work ever.

Anonymous, June 5, 2012 7:03 PM

What Palestinian people?

Historical fact: Before the land called Palestine under the British Mandate was divided into Israel and Jordan (roughly30% for a Jewish homeland and 70% for an Arab homeland) there were more Palestinian Jews living in the area of Israel than Palestinian Arabs. The former Pal. Jews are not allowed to live in Jordan, why should former Pal. Arabs be allowed to claim Israel?

(30) Wassim, March 30, 2009 6:00 PM

RE: #22 There has to be a different solution

Is it not the case that right now, Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza are living under significantly different circumstances? This might in time prompt some Palestinians to deduce that their livelihood is mainly dependant on their attitude towards their Israeli neighbours. It might just work if Israel can keep the focus on Gaza while showing preferential treatment for the West Bank. It is probably a work in progress, but I worry about all those wildcards, you know, all the small groups on the fringes that seem to be created overnight.

(29) GENE GOLDENSTEIN, March 30, 2009 7:17 AM

The Arab countries will not absorb the Palestinians.

There has to be a different solution the 22 arab countries will "never" absorb the Palestinians. Never.

(28) Seamus MacNemi, March 29, 2009 9:43 PM

Try talking to an Arab??

My elders taught me that the easiest way to destroy a man was to tell him what he wants to hear and the best way to save him was to tell him what he needs to know. Try telling that to an Arab.

See All Comments

Submit Your Comment:

  • Display my name?

  • Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.

  • * required field 2000
Submit Comment