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Who should really apologize: Palestinians or Kuwaitis? 

Hassan El-Najjar



Kuwait said yesterday it had withdrawn an invitation to Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmud Abbas for a visit to the emirate because he would not apologize for Yasser Arafatís support of Iraq for its 1990 invasion. (Come After Apologizing, Abbas Told )

As a start, the Palestinian leadership never supported the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Actually, Arafat tried to mediate between Kuwaitis and Iraqis. It was Saddam Hussain's suggestion to link the Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait with the Israeli withdrawal from the Arab territories that attracted the attention. Palestinians were neither responsible for the invasion nor for the Saddam "linkage." To say anything contrary is inaccurate at best.

The Kuwaiti government still insists on blaming the victims. They want the Palestinian Authority to apologize for the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. This is an illogical demand. Actually, the Kuwaiti government should apologize for evicting more than 450,000 Palestinians from the country, in 1991, for no reason other than scoring points against the Palestinian leadership. The Kuwaiti rudeness led to the death of Palestinian leader Faisal Al-Hussaini by heart attack during his visit to Kuwait, in May 2001. He was invited by a group of Kuwaiti activists during a conference about Jerusalem but he was subjected to rude attacks in the media and face to face, which contributed to his death alone in his room in the hotel. 

The Palestinian people were not responsible for the failure of the Iraqi-Kuwaiti relations. Palestinians should not be used as an escape goat for the Kuwaiti policies that led to the Iraqi invasion in 1990. They have been suffering enough on the hands of the Israelis and it seems that the Kuwaiti government insists on joining the Israeli endeavor. 

Both governments, after all, have one main thing in common. They represent the privileged few. While the Israeli government denies the Palestinian people the Israeli citizenship and refuses to allow Palestinian refugees to return to their property, the Kuwaiti government also denied 450,000 Palestinians citizenship and evicted them from the country after more than half a century of living there. While Israel only allows Jewish immigrants to become citizens, the Kuwaiti government has denied citizenship to the vast majority of immigrants in the country.

The Kuwaiti political participation in elections is still limited to male Kuwaiti citizens, who constitute about 6 percent of the inhabitants of the country. Kuwaiti women are still deprived of their political rights, so are the Bidoons (residents without citizenship), and so are immigrants. Thus, out of about two million people living in Kuwait, only about 100,000 Kuwaiti men can participate in parliamentarian elections.

For all of that, it is not strange for such a government to behave in this way. It is the government of the privileged few who find a special joy in humiliating people and depriving them of their rights. But it is truly a strange time in which the victims are asked to apologize to their oppressors.



Earth, a planet hungry for peace


The Israeli apartheid (security) wall around Palestinian population centers (Ran Cohen, pmc, 5/24/03).


The Israeli apartheid (security) wall around Palestinian population centers in the West Bank (Ran Cohen, pmc, 5/24/03).

Opinions expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors and they may not represent Al-Jazeerah's.