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The Palestinians enjoyed the benificence of Saddam Hussein during the regime's long and brutal rule over the Iraqi people. Perhaps singular among Arab tyrants, Saddam gave the Palestinians privileges denied to Iraqis while funneling money to the suicide bombers that continually attacked Israel during the intifadas. In turn, the Palestinians gave Saddam's Iraq their unquestioning support, publicly siding with him when his tanks overran Kuwait and brutalized that nation for months, and celebrating the 9/11 attacks in street demonstrations of ululating joy -- until a frightened and embarrassed Yasser Arafat told them to shut the hell up.
Their special treatment caused plenty of resentment among Iraqis during Saddam's regime, and now that Saddam has been removed from power, the Palestinians feel a lot less welcome in the new Iraq:
More than 100 Palestinians fleeing violence in Baghdad and seeking refuge in Jordan have been denied entry by Jordanian border officials for not having proper entry permits, the spokesman for the Jordanian government said Monday.
The Palestinians have remained at the border in the hope of crossing, but the Jordanian government has closed it pending a resolution of the matter, the spokesman, Nasser Judeh, said in a telephone interview from the capital, Amman.
In recent weeks, as the country has experienced a surge in sectarian violence, Palestinians have been increasingly singled out by Shiite militias, because they were Sunni Arabs and because they had enjoyed certain privileges under Saddam Hussein. Many Palestinians were members of the Baath Party, and Mr. Hussein granted them free schooling and free housing, among other favors.
Residents of Baladiyat, a Baghdad neighborhood in which Palestinians are concentrated, say that in recent weeks, dozens of people have been kidnapped and many have turned up dead. The residents have accused Shiite militias in the killings.
This shows that the nature of the violence in Iraq has turned into a type of gang warfare similar to that seen on smaller scales in American urban centers, more so in the 80s and early 90s when drug money and turf wars turned cities into shooting galleries. These Palestinians weren't just honored guests or innocent bystanders during Saddam's reign, but actual participants in the oppression. They belonged to the Ba'ath party and benefitted greatly from that membership. Their continued presence raises legitimate questions about their activities on behalf of the Ba'athist insurgents, and assuming -- as this article does -- that they are just innocent refugees requires a significant leap of faith.
Nor is it any surprise that Jordan wants them to stay out of their country. Jordan provided an example for other Arab nations as to why they should never allow the Palestinian refugees to enter someone else's country. No sooner had King Hussein allowed them inside his borders did Yasser Arafat and the PLO begin undermining his authority and working to foment a coup. Hussein finally booted the Palestinians out of Jordan. They wound up in Lebanon and turned the southern end of the country into a war zone when they began using it for attacks on Israel.
The Palestinians have been cursed with the worst leadership imaginable, but the fault is theirs. If they wonder why they are no longer welcome in Iraq, they should recall their enthusiasm for one of the twentieth century's more brutal tyrants and their assistance in keeping him in power. Their choices have led them once again to someone else's border, begging for relief, and their history will keep anyone with an ounce of sense from letting them inside.Sphere It View blog reactions
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