…and bring peace to the Middle East.
By Daniel Greenfield, FPM
In 1990, there were half as many Palestinians as Kuwaitis in Kuwait. Two years later there were almost none.
With the support of the international community, some 700,000 Kuwaitis expelled hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their country. If they had not done it, basic arithmetic shows that the Palestinians would have outnumbered Kuwaitis in Kuwait in a generation.
The Palestinians of Kuwait were kidnapped, tortured and killed. “Kill a Palestinian and Go to Heaven,” became the slogan. When Kuwait was “liberated”, tanks and armored vehicles were sent into the Hawally suburb of Kuwait City known as Little Palestine. Half the buildings were knocked down by bulldozers. Some detained Palestinians were buried in mass graves. The vast majority, including those who had been born in Kuwait, were deported or forced to flee a land they had lived in for a generation.
The violent ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians went mostly unremarked. While the Kuwaitis were ethnically cleansing their Palestinians, they continued to fund Palestinian terror against Israel and condemn Israel for violating the human rights of those they were deporting.
And the world shrugged.
President George H.W. Bush defended Kuwait’s actions. “I think we’re expecting a little much if we’re asking the people in Kuwait to take kindly to those that had spied on their countrymen that were left there,” he said. This was in the same press conference in which he condemned Israeli “settlements.”
The Kuwaiti Nakba isn’t much remembered. There are no rallies full of old women clutching house keys to lost homes in Hawally. They had made a bad bet by backing Saddam Hussein. And paid the price for it.
Kuwait refused to allow Palestinian Authority leader Abbas to visit until he apologized for supporting Saddam. And apologize he did. “Yes, we apologize for what we have done,” the terror boss whined.
The PLO has yet to apologize to Israel for the Muslim settler role in the attempted 1948 genocide of the indigenous Jewish population and the thousands who were maimed and murdered by its terrorists.
Israel, like Kuwait, should have demanded an admission of guilt from Abbas for the PLO’s crimes.
The Kuwaiti Nakba has much in common with what took place in Israel. Palestinians had arrived in both Kuwait and Israel as a cheap labor force to take advantage of the economic boom of a feudal economy becoming industrialized. The “Palestinians” of Israel were not some ancient people but a mass of migrants, mostly from Israel’s neighbors, but occasionally from as far away as Sudan and Senegal in Africa, who were seeking economic opportunity. The existence of the Afro-Palestinians makes it quite clear that they are not a distinct ethnic or national group, but migrants who came from outside Israel.
Over half of the so-called “Palestinian” population lives outside Israel. Many continue to be economic migrants. That is what brought them to Kuwait. And the Kuwaitis were not the only ones to kick them out. Nor are the “Palestinians” the only migrating group that got caught without a country when the game of national musical chairs ended with a lot of new countries with old names dotting the map.
“Palestinians” embraced an imaginary and ahistorical identity because they had been locked out of every other political setup by new governments and tribal arrangements. And that’s not unique.
Kuwait’s other stateless group are the Bedoon. Like the Palestinians, the Bidoon were migrants. The Kuwaitis chose not to recognize them as citizens. There is one Bidoon for every ten Kuwaitis. But that is typical in a region where large nomadic groups around the region exist outside governmental structures.
In this century, hundreds of thousands of people were displaced in Iraq, Libya and Syria. Many of the countries in the region are on the verge of similar civil wars between quarreling ethnic and religious groups. The mass flow of migrants into Europe is an extension of the migratory nature of the region.
All of these problems have a single cause. That cause is the failure of the Arab Muslim nation state.
This century exposed how fragile and artificial most of the countries whose existence we take for granted, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon and Libya, really are. A little instability and they collapse into quarreling tribes. These tribal conflicts have the same root cause as the “Palestinian” problem.