View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Tuesday, June 24, 2003

The Wall Street Journal is reprinting an AP Report about the murder of 6 British soldiers today in Iraq. About halfway down, the report changes focus to Palestinian refugees living in Iraq. Saddam had demagogued this issue, too, forcing landlords to put up Palestinian refugees for free. Some of these were refugees from 1948. Now some Iraqis are upset with them, and landlords are demanding actual rent. Naturally, UNHCR sees this as a refugee crisis, and wants the US to set up housing for them, probably new camps.

I have a better idea - make them Iraqi citizens. Look, one of the under-reported horror stories over there is the abuse of Palestinian refugees, as far back as 1948, and the deliberate unwillingness of the Arab states to absorb them. By keeping in them in camps, Arab leaders were able to show off their plight, to the UN and other Arabs, and organize their foreign policies around opposing Israel. After the Gulf War I, Kuwait, furious at the Palestinians for supporting Saddam, threw them all out, although Kuwait refuses citizenship to anyone whose family hasn't been there for 80 years.

By offering the Palestinians Iraqi citizenship, the US would be dramatically raising the bar for performance by the Arab states, and helping to defuse a real source of tensionsin the Mideast.

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