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.

Comments: 2814 • Responses: 6  • Date: 

Shprintze6131592 karma

This is 100 percent correct, and it's about time that somebody highlighted that Israel indeed is home to over a million LEGAL Arabs, who have full rights to work, drive, vote, healthcare, etc. Israel isn't paradise but it's better than many other Arab countries, even to fellow Arabs.

The truth is that other Arab countries simply do not care about the Palestinians, and prefer that they remain oppressed to make Israel look as bad as possible.

Hopefully you can shed some light on this topic for people who are unaware of this.

withholdthelaughing364 karma

I can only anticipate the amount of downvotes I will get for this, but if all countries treated their "enemies" the way Israel treats Palestinians, the world would be a better place. * During WWII, allied forces systematically carpet bombed cities and civilians (not to mention two nuclear bombs). Israel uses pinpoint precision, and sends its own soldiers into harm's way to reduce Palestinian civilian casualties as much as possible. * During France's war in Algeria, the French would indiscriminately bomb cafes, with no regard for civilian casualties. * In Russia's war in Chechnya, they would systematically destroy villages and indiscriminately kill. Imagine, Israel lets its “enemies” cross its borders, work, and cross back with that money. If the roles were reversed, and Hamas or any other Arab government were in charge, Israel would not last a night. And the U.S. would not do much about it either, like the way they did nothing during the 6 day war. It takes a very removed Palestinian to realize that their Arab neighbors are their real enemies, and Israel their friend. But alas, indoctrination, intimidation (Hamas killing Fatah, the both killing Palestinians), and propaganda on government run Arab news networks keep the populous hostage.

throwaway874832749219 karma

That's actually true. More Palestinians have died outside of Palestine and Israel than inside. Hell, more Palestinians have died in the black september alone (up to 20,000 casualties) than the whole Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

GiantAxon147 karma

Let's pretend the west bank gets statehood tomorrow. Do you think they could handle the massive influx of Palestinians from the surrounding countries? I'm sure these countries would be glad to get rid of them, but how would that work out? I'm seeing massive overpopulation and economic collapse. What do you think?

throwaway874832749178 karma

Doubt a lot of the refugees would be allowed to come back anyways:

Palestinian refugees will not become citizens of a new Palestinian state, according to Palestine’s ambassador to Lebanon. The ambassador unequivocally says that Palestinian refugees would not become citizens of the sought for U.N.-recognized Palestinian state, an issue that has been much discussed. “They are Palestinians, that’s their identity,” he says. “But … they are not automatically citizens.” 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. Neither this definitional status nor U.N. statehood, Abdullah says, would affect the eventual return of refugees to Palestine. “How the issue of the right of return will be solved I don’t know, it’s too early [to say], but it is a sacred right that has to be dealt with and solved [with] the acceptance of all.” He says statehood “will never affect the right of return for Palestinian refugees.” The right of return that Abdullah says is to be negotiated would not only apply to those Palestinians whose origins are within the 1967 borders of the state, he adds. “The state is the 1967 borders, but the refugees are not only from the 1967 borders. The refugees are from all over Palestine. 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.


cocoric83 karma

Hi there. I'm a Lebanese who temporarily worked in the Beddawi camp close to Tripoli, in Northern Lebanon. I got a good idea of how things were run (terribly) and the general sense of despair in the refugees.

My question is, how prevalent is "militia" culture in the camps? The Lebanese media likes to blame terrorists in the camps for every little disturbance, not understanding that the way refugees are treated only enable this behaviour.

Also, what do you think is the Fatah/Hamas proportion of support in the refugee camps?

Thanks for doing this mate, it really needs more publicity. If the Lebanese government was better equipped to serve its own citizens, perhaps we could work towards improving the quality of life in the camps as well.

throwaway87483274941 karma

Thanks for doing this mate, it really needs more publicity. If the Lebanese government was better equipped to serve its own citizens, perhaps we could work towards improving the quality of life in the camps as well.

I know, but there are a couple of laws that can be quickly enacted that can prove the lives of Palestinian refugees by a large margin.

cocoric31 karma

They can certainly start by expanding the number of jobs Palestinians are allowed to work as. Also they can scrap the law that says that Palestinians can't own property. But beyond that, I'd have to say that we're badly served as a nation either way :/

throwaway87483274933 karma

If you do that, Palestinians would be very grateful and shocked. They definitely wouldn't expect the Lebanese government to allow us to own property.

Nas-psu44 karma

To be fair, Palstinians loved Sadam and he promised them Kuwait after he took over and their leader supported Sadam... What did you expect?

truth791063 karma

Kuwaiti here. This is exactly what happened. Don't let this Palestinian fool you all. Instead of standing with us, they turned against us when Iraq invaded thinking they'd be running the country and seizing the oil wealth. They weren't mistreated at all, they deserved the expulsion.

throwaway87483274920 karma

Perhaps the political leadership supported Saddam, but you really think that 400,000 Palestinians earning good money in Kuwait wanted war?

ANewLowInGettingHigh20 karma

Forgive any perceived callousness, but are the Palestinians to the Arab world as the Jews were to the West?

People from that part of the world just can't catch a break.

throwaway87483274928 karma

To a large extent, at least in the political sphere. Perhaps Arabs are against the way we are treated by the governments, but they never protested against this treatment.