From the Christian Science Monitor:
The State Department confirmed today that as many as 1,350 Iraqi Palestinians – once the well-treated guests of Saddam Hussein and now at outs with much of Iraqi society – will be resettled in the US, mostly in southern California, starting this fall.
It will be the largest-ever resettlement of Palestinian refugees into the US – and welcome news to the Palestinians who fled to Iraq after 1948 but who have had a tough time since Mr. Hussein was deposed in 2003. Targeted by Iraqi Shiites, the mostly-Sunni Palestinians have spent recent years in one of the region's roughest refugee camps, Al Waleed, near Iraq's border with Syria.
"Really for the first time, the United States is recognizing a Palestinian refugee population that could be admitted to the US as part of a resettlement program," says Bill Frelick, refugee policy director at Human Rights Watch in Washington.
Given the US's past reluctance to resettle Palestinians – it accepted just seven Palestinians in 2007 and nine in 2008 – the effort could ruffle some diplomatic feathers.
Besides the specific problem of welcoming to our shores people who danced in the streets at the destruction of the Twin Towers, there's the more general issue of resettling as refugees people who have somewhere else to go. There are 21 members of the Arab League, other than Iraq, that could take these Palestinians, and if they don't want to (and they don't) then we should apply pressure to our "friends" in the Arab world to make them do so. Resettlement in America, regardless of the total numbers (and I obviously prefer lower numbers), should be reserved only for those who can't stay where they are and will never have anywhere else to go. Many, perhaps most, of those resettled here as refugees don't fit that description, these Palestinians being simply the latest example.
And anyway, during the first couple of years after the invasion, when we ruled Iraq essentially alone, why didn't we just grant these Palestinians Iraqi citizenship? It would have solved their statelessness and maybe shamed the other Arab countries that deny citizenship even to the native-born grandchildren of Palestinians who live there. Does anyone know whether it was even considered?