I suppose this was the challenge facing Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed, the Dubai-based General Manager of al-Arabiya. On June 9 he wrote an amazing piece in Asharq Al-Awsat, the news magazine where he was once Editor-in-Chief. The first paragraph is doctrinaire: praising the fairness of the Palestinian cause and condemning occupation. The rest of it, though, is a revelation considering the source and is very much part of the sea change in Arab thinking I have been blogging about. Here are some excerpts:
Some Arab countries “hosting” refugees ban them from leaving [camps], from occupying a large number of positions and deny them any other legal rights. Some of them have to jump over walls and sneak out to complete their chores or to breathe and experience the outside world. One can imagine these randomly and poorly built houses during the winter chill and sweltering heat of the summer among the sewage and insufficient services. It is a shame.
Our insistence to lock the Palestinians in camps and treat them like animals in the name of preserving the issue is far worse a crime than Israel stealing land and causing the displacement of people. The 60 year-old camps only signify our inhumanity and double standards. Israel can claim that it treats the Palestinians better than their Arab brothers do. It gives citizenship to the Palestinians of 1948 as well as the right to work and the right to lead a somewhat normal life