I don’t like to delve into this topic, but I think I will on this occasion. My landlord is from Egypt plus I had a lot of Arab and Muslim friends back in college (this was not in the U.S., by the way). I often wondered the same thing about why other Arab countries don’t take Palestinians in. First of all, some Arab countries have accepted Palestinian refugees, most notably Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt. With the exception of Jordan and to a lesser extent Egypt, the other countries treat Palestinian refugees pretty poorly. I believe Jordan’s population is 60% Palestinian. In fact, King Abdullah’s wife is Palestinian. One of my friends in college was a Palestinian who grew up in Egypt. I’ve met Palestinians from Kuwait, Canada, and even Charlotte, North Carolina (complete with the southern accent). Hell, there are a fair number of them living in Jersey City and Patterson, New Jersey. So, it’s not like other countries won’t accept them.
You get images and hear stories on the news about this united Arab front and how they all stick together and they are all brothers and what not. It’s complete bullshit. Most of my Arab friends were of Lebanese decent, but I knew a few Egyptians, Palestinians and Jordanians. Fact is they don’t like eachother. You should hear all the smears and slanders they say about other Arab groups. In the Arab world, Lebanese have the reputation of being shrewd, sleazy, and players with women, but outstanding businessmen. On a side note, some of Brazil’s wealthiest citizens are of Lebanese decent. Supposedly, Egyptians are really nice, good hearted people, but somewhat simple, crude not good at running a business. Saudis are viewed as rigid, elitist and really snobby. Jordanians are sort of a mix of everything, but they are generally viewed as the most tolerant of the bunch. Jordan has a thriving IT sector, by the way. As for the Palestinians, the phrases that universally came up were to the effect of “hobo” or “gypsy”…well, generally, they are looked down upon, lower than anyone else…I really couldn’t get an explanation why.
Point is, they don’t like eachother…hell…they’ve had tribal conflicts for centuries. One of my Lebanese friends said he’d never marry someone who was not Lebanese, and he’d especially not marry a Palestinian woman because it would be “a great dishonor to marry someone of those bloodlines”. And this is from a guy who was born and raised in Canada.
It’s interesting because Arabs don’t really hate Americans, the West and, most surprisingly, they claim they don’t hate the Jews. And even if they did hate Americans, it’s not like they hate them anymore than they hate any other Western country. What bugs them is Zionism (which most people here don’t seem to have a fucking clue about – it is the Jewish movement to settle in the area known as Palestine, and it was established centuries ago). Aside from Lebanon, Iraq and maybe Egypt (but Egypt will never admit to it because they are being bought out by U.S weaponry) no other Arab country really has a beef with Israel. Egypt and Lebanon have land disputes, and Iraq…well, you know about them. Iran supports Hezbollah because they are Shiite Muslim, but Iran really doesn’t have any problems with the Jews. Iranians are not Arabs and Arabs and Persians have never, ever gotten along. But, of course, there are the Palestinians who have been displaced, and they are angry for a reason. But I think the rest of the Arabs region would be willing to leave Israel alone. For whatever reason, though, Zionism is able to aggregate all the Arabs (not just Muslims, mind you, but also the Durze, Christians and Arab Jews – yes, the latter does exist) into one group.
So, I don’t really buy this united Arab front, especially when most of them can’t stand eachother. As to why the other Arab countries don’t accept the Palestinians with open arms, they don’t like ‘em, plain and simple. If this was happening to the Lebanese instead of the Palestinians, you’d get the same reaction as you do now – nobody else would take them in.