Yes, you read that right.
Evelyn Gordon has a jaw-dropping piece up on the Contentions blog at Commentary today in which she quotes Abdullah Abdullah, the PLO’s ambassador to Lebanon, who gave an interview last week with the Lebanese paper The Daily Star:
The ambassador unequivocally says that Palestinian refugees would not become citizens of the sought for U.N.-recognized Palestinian state…
This would not only apply to refugees in countries such as Lebanon, Egypt, Syria and Jordan or the other 132 countries where Abdullah says Palestinians reside. Abdullah said that “even Palestinian refugees who are living in [refugee camps] inside the [Palestinian] state, they are still refugees. They will not be considered citizens.”
Abdullah said that the new Palestinian state would “absolutely not” be issuing Palestinian passports to refugees…
He makes the logic of this choice admirably clear (emphasis added):
“When we have a state accepted as a member of the United Nations, this is not the end of the conflict. This is not a solution to the conflict. This is only a new framework that will change the rules of the game. ”
The Palestinian Liberation Organization would remain responsible for refugees, and Abdullah says that UNRWA would continue its work as usual.
The only Palestinians who will be entitled to citizenship are those residents of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip who are not classified as refugees. They collectively represent a little more than half the population. To sum up, then: the entire refugee population of the diaspora, plus 45% of the residents of the West Bank and Gaza, will be refused citizenship of Palestine. That amounts to 4.69 million people (2.9 million in the diaspora, 689,000 in the West Bank and 1.1 million in Gaza).
Let me interject a personal note here. I have spent the past three months watching with admiration and gratitude as Arab workers built the structure of my new house. Some of them came from the territories. They were, to the last man, eminently professional, dependable, gracious, responsible, and fantastic with my kids.
It enrages me that Palestinian leaders — the supposed “peacemaking” crew, I mean; not the unapologetic, no-compromise freakshow that runs Gaza — would sell out not just my future, but the futures of men like these. And it enrages me still further that the disgusting choices those leaders make create an assumption abroad that all Palestinians, all Muslims indeed, are their mirror images. An entire population, the decent majority together with the indecent minority, is being stamped into the gutter of history by its own leadership. I can’t speak for the Muslim populations of Marseilles or Flanders or London or Ankara, and I am the last to gainsay our long struggle with Muslim violence here in Israel. But I am convinced that given a chance, this population could live beside us peacefully, were it not for a pathologically weak-minded leadership. What a tragic disgrace.
Lest anyone remain in doubt as to the true purpose of the statehood gambit in the minds of that leadership — a truncation of Israel as a step toward its eventual erasure — the woman Abbas has chosen to launch the bid at the UN, Latifa Abu Hmeid, is the mother of five terrorists. And not just garden-variety, small-time terrorists, either. Four of them are serving a combined total of eighteen life sentences for heinous attacks. (The fifth one — the “martyr” — is dead. Read more about them here.)
Hmeid might seem a curious choice as representative of Palestinian national aspiration, but from the point of view of Abbas et al, she couldn’t be better. As disastrous as Abbas’s embrace of the dark side might be for Israel, it is calamitous beyond measure for stateless Palestinians. Evelyn Gordon puts it well:
[T]he new state won’t provide these residents with any services: It expects UNRWA – or, more accurately, the American and European taxpayers who provide the bulk of that organization’s funding – to continue providing their schooling, healthcare, welfare allowances, etc….Thus, aside from the 2.9 million Diaspora refugees, a whopping 45 percent of the new state’s residents will also remain stateless, deprived of both citizenship and services by the country the world fondly imagines is being created to serve their needs.
But of course, the PA doesn’t want a state to serve its people’s needs; it wants a state to further its goal of destroying Israel. Hence the refugees can’t be given citizenship; that would undermine its demand to resettle them in Israel, thereby destroying the Jewish state demographically.
And if the price is leaving half its people in stateless squalor for the next several decades or centuries, it’s a perfectly acceptable one to pay for the goal of killing the Jewish state. Just like Latifa Abu Hmeid thinks one son dead and four in jail is an acceptable price to pay for the goal of killing Jews.