Daoud Al-Shiryan, Al-Hayat columnist and deputy secretary-general of Al-Arabiya TV, recently published several articles criticizing how the Palestinian refugees have been treated by the Arab countries in which they live. He called on these countries to integrate the refugees into their societies and to resettle them before they are forced to do so by the international community.
Objecting to Refugee Resettlement Is Objecting to Peace
In the first of his articles, published July 15, 2009, Al-Shiryan wrote: "The issue of [refugee] resettlement has begun to preoccupy the Arab countries, which are keeping the Palestinians in depressing prison camps known as Palestinian refugee camps.
Although so far no one in the Arab world has called for their resettlement, the refugee problem has now [gained prominence] in Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan, both on the political arena and in the media. It has [even] become an issue in forming the next Lebanese government. This means that, in its next stage, the peace process is expected to encounter obstacles [on the part of] the Arabs.
"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. Read more here ...