IAmA a Palestinian refugee from Lebanon and I wish the Arab world gets as little as 10% of the criticism Israel gets for treating Palestinians. AMA.
I posted this on r/worldpolitics, and somebody told me I should do an AMA, not sure if you'd be interested. I'm sure most of this information is new to you considering the considerable lack of media reporting on the issue. FYI, I'm a Palestinian refugee from Lebanon. Here's the proof.
Let me start with a couple of countries:
Around half of the 400,000 refugees live in camps, deprived of many rights. Refugees don't have any property rights, no access to the Lebanese healthcare system and there are certain restrictions on jobs we are allowed to do. We are issued handwritten [travel documents](www.passport-collector.com/2011/08/10/lebanon-refugee-passport-for-palestine/) of appalling quality (large size, cheap paper). The travel documents don't even have a full date of birth, just the birth year. You probably know about the Sabra and Chatila massacre (from the movie Waltz with Bashir, perhaps my favorite animated movie) were 3000 Palestinian civilians were killed in cold blood. These are at the top of my head, I'm sure there's more. This is what a British MP Gerald Kaufman said in 2011 when he visited the camps:
When I went to Gaza in 2010 I thought I had seen the worst that could be seen of the appalling predicament of Palestinians living in conditions which no human being should be expected to endure. But what I saw in the camps in Lebanon is far worse and far more hopeless. The conditions are unspeakable, but for over 400,000 of our fellow human beings this is their life: today, tomorrow and for a future that cannot even be foreseen. At least in Gaza, frightful though the situation is, the people are free within the confines of their blockaded prison. In the camps of Lebanon they are not free.
UPDATE1: Since many here are blaming the PLO and its involvement in the civil war. That's definitely true to a large extent, however you're missing a few points. Most Palestinians refugees were placed in camps in south Lebanon when they arrived. These camps were gradually militarized and became the grounds for operations against Israel and because the PLO had so much power back then, they started making trouble and trying to control part of the country. So had the Lebanon absorbed it's Palestinian population properly, this wouldn't have happened. Look at the Palestinians of Syria, they didn't make any trouble and didn't start any wars, why? Because they were treated like equal citizens. Also, FYI, Lebanon naturalized more than 100,000 Palestinian Christians and Shiites. Second, who do you think was funding the militarization of the PLO? THE ARAB GOVERNMENTS, whether it's Saudi Arabia or Iraq or some other Arab country.
What do I want from Lebanon as a Palestinian refugee? Some of you say that naturalizing 450,000 Palestinians would be a strain on the country. You think that much Palestinian refugees aren't already a strain? Everyone knows if Lebanon naturalizes Palestinians the whole debt Lebanon has would disappear. I'm not exactly fond of naturalization myself though. However, so many laws can be quickly enacted that will significantly improve the life of a refugee, like property law or proper ID and passports formats that aren't from the 1950's. Also, you say that refugees put a strain on Lebanon. Mind you that a large number of Palestinians work abroad and they all send money to their families in Lebanon so they contribute a lot to the Lebanese economy. Hell, I've been told the Lebanese lira dropped significantly when the PLO left the country in 1982. One more thing, all Lebanese factions and leaders involved in the civil war are now reigning free in the country many of them ministers or MPs, the same people that committed massacres towards their fellow Lebanese. Nobody was punished for the civil war, except for the Palestinians. Why? Because they're not Lebanese, so it's perfectly fine to discriminate against them.
Surprisingly, refugees there are treated quite well, almost like a citizen. Although this is changing and the Palestinians are being forced to choose sides in the Syrian uprising.
It's the only country that naturalized Palestinians after the annexation of the West Bank, perhaps because they needed the population back then. From what I know from my family members living there, there's some discrimination between the natives and Palestinians, but it's minimal compared to other Arab countries.
Kuwait expelled more than 450,000 Palestinians when Arafat declared his support for Saddam during the Gulf war.
UPDATE2: It seems like a lot of Kuwaitis here are saying that the Palestinians got what they deserved for their support for Saddam. Can you really believe that 400,000 Palestinians earning good money in Kuwait wanted war and death in Kuwait? There might have been a vocal minority, but that's to reason to expel families that were contributing to the Kuwaiti economy.
Palestinians enjoyed full rights under Saddam's reign, however after the 2003 war they were severely targeted with discrimination or killings and the majority fled the country.
You can read this report here. Not only are they discriminated against (no free education) but they receive no UN assistance whatsoever. If they go out of the country for more than 6 months, their residency permit might be revoked. Imagine being born and living in a country your whole life and needing to renew your residency permit every couple of years. Also, a little bit about the occupation of the Gaza strip by Egypt, one observer (a member of UN) noted that "For all practical purposes it would be true to say that for the last six years in Gaza over 300,000 poverty stricken people have been physically confined to an area the size of a large city park."
I'm sure there's more but these are off the top of my head. Also, for a Palestinian refugee it's very hard nowadays to get a work visa to Gulf countries. I was accepted for an internship in Dubai for an American bank but I waited for the visa for 1 and a half months and it never came. I had to relocate to another office. This isn't anecdotal evidence, many complain about this.
Moral of the story: Israel naturalized over 1.5 million Palestinians. They enjoy full citizen rights and many of them would remain in Israel even if a Palestinian state is established. Palestinians in the Arab world on the other hand suffer from discernible and vile discrimination. If a non-Palestinian Arab speaks of the maltreatment of Palestinians by Israelis, tell them to STFU and demand rights for Palestinians in their countries before they complain about Israel. People living glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
EDIT: I'm really sorry if this AMA is subpar. I'm studying for an exam so I'm writing my answer very quickly..". Please check out the other posts I made if you want longer answers.
EDIT2: I gave additional proof to the mod. Their reply "That is still not definitive from the account for me to verify in the thread, but it is enough back up that I will not remove this from the reports."
I'll giving them additional proof.they need an ID with my name, don't feel safe sharing that.
EDIT3: Maybe this is not a real AMA, but it did serve its purpose of informing redditors of the plight of Palestinians outside Israel. I'm sorry I disappointed you with my lackluster answers, I'll try to answer more questions tomorrow.
EDIT4: Did some updates in the OP to address some of the common concerns/questions here so that everybody would see them. Make sure to check them out.