Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Are we callous?

Consider this CNN article on Palestinians in Lebanon:

"The camp was established by the League of Red Cross Societies in 1949 to Accommodate Palestinian refugees ..."

"Palestinian refugees in Lebanon face specific problems. They have no social and civil rights, and limited access to the government's public health or educational facilities and no access to public social services."

"Most rely entirely on the UNRWA as the sole provider of education, health and relief and social services. Considered as foreigners, Palestinian refugees are prohibited by law from working in more than 70 trades and professions. This has led to a high rate of unemployment among the refugee population."

After 58 years, most Palestinians are probably born in Lebanon, but are citizens of nowhere. In Jordan, only 1 in 5 refugees were born in the territory of Israel. Children of illegal aliens born in the US are automatically citizens of the US, but the children of these Palestinians have no legal standing within Lebanon or the other host countries. Like illegal aliens in the US, Palestinians are banned from most jobs. Unlike the Palestinians, illegals usually find a job in the US because this law isn't enforced. In fact, it is the promise of generous benefits plus jobs that draws the illegals here in the first place. Finally, illegal aliens in the US have unlimited access to public health and education.

Much of the problem is that the Arab world maintains petty distinctions related to tribalism that were reinforced with arbitrary borders created in the 20th century. I can't imagine Canadians being displaced into the US and us setting up refugee camps for them and refusing them all services and rights for half a century.

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