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Ibrahim Haroon: A Palestinian American Who Died in Kuwait

By Hassan El-Najjar

Al-Jazeerah, September 29, 2006

Yesterday, Ibrahim Muhammed Haroon died in Kuwait after a long journey of struggle against all kinds of extraordinary odds that faced him as a Palestinian. His life story represented what the Palestinians have gone through as a result of being evicted from their homeland by Israelis.

Ibranim Haroon (May Allah have mercy on his soul) was born in the early 1930s in his village and mine, Isdood, which is now a town called Ashdod by Israelis. He belonged to my Joudah Hamouleh, which is equivalent to a clan in an agricultural society or a tribe in a pastoralist society. Thousands of our relatives still live as refugees in Gaza Strip but many of them are scattered all over the world.

Ibrahim Haroon has been survived by four sons, Muhammed, Yousuf, Tareq, and Alaa'. He also left behind two daughters, Mervat and Amal. All of them and their families live together with his widow, Um (mother of) Muhammed in Kuwait City. Yousuf is the exception as he immigrated to Canada, where he still lives with his family.

It is an Arab tradition that a person may be addressed in respect using the name of his eldest son. Therefore, people would call him Abu Muhammed (Father of Muhammed), which I also used to do.

Abu Muhammed told me about the wonderful life people in our village had before the establishment of Israel in 1948, which resulted in evicting them from the village to become refugees in the Gaza Strip.

They led a simple but a satisfying lifestyle in their village, farming their fields and enjoying social life as a calm agricultural community.

He told me horror stories about Al-Nakba, the Palestinian Catastrophe of eviction in 1948, and how they left to Gaza without food supplies or money.

They received help from few international organizations, particularly the Quakers and the American Friends. Palestinians who experienced those brutal times expressed their gratitude to these organizations by telling their children and grandchildren about how they survived on the food and clothes provided by these charitable organizations. This continued until 1950, when the UN established an organization called UNRWA to do the job in a formal way.

The UNRAW provided Palestinian refugees with food rations and clothes. More important has been opening schools to educate Palestinian children.

Abu Muhammed finished his elementary school education in Isdood before the 1948 Catastrophe but it was in a Gaza refugee camp, called Al-Nussairat, where he completed his middle and high school education, in the late 1950s.

There were no higher education colleges or universities in Gaza back then. That's why, high school graduates could get teaching jobs when they would receive a high school diploma. So, Abu Muhammed became a teacher in the refugee camp school.

While Student, Abu Muhammed was politically active, like most of his peers. They were organizing to understand how and why the Catastrophe happened. His first experience was with a leftist organization called Palestine Liberation League, which mainly provided people with education about the Palestinian problem.

The Gaza Strip was then under the control of the Egyptian government, which did not like to see Palestinian youths organizing politically. So, he was arrested in 1952 together with other members of the League. In the Gaza Prison of Al-Saraya, they met young men from other organizations, like the Muslim Brotherhood. He told me that one of them was the late Salah Khalaf, one of the founders of the Fateh Movement.

In July that year, Nasser led a military coup and overthrew the king. Later, he declared Egypt a Republic and appointed General Muhammed Najeeb as a president. Abu Muhammed and the other Palestinian political prisoners in the Gaza Al-Saraya Prison went on a hunger strike demanding their release. Najeeb himself came to see them and promised to release them as soon as he returned to Cairo. But it took several months before they were released.

Despite their release, they were kept under surveillance. Many of them were harassed and some of them were fired from their jobs. Gaza was crowded and jobs were scarce, that was why everybody was looking for opportunities in the Arabian Gulf area.

 In 1961, Abu Muhammed managed to have a contract to teach in Kuwait. He lived there until his death yesterday. He loved Kuwait. He lived there more than he lived in Palestine or anywhere else. He worked as a teacher in that Arab state from 1961 till the summer of 1990, when Iraq invaded Kuwait.

The major problem facing immigrants in Kuwait and other Arabian Gulf states is that their status as temporary immigrants never changes. They never become citizens or permanent residents, like immigrants in Europe, North American, South America, and Australia.

So, when Iraqis invaded Kuwait, Abu Muhammed was neither a Kuwaiti citizen nor even a permanent resident of Kuwait, despite working in the country for 29 years. Actually, Palestinians in particular were targeted to deny them the right to be naturalized, which was stated by the Kuwaiti law itself.

Most Palestinians left Kuwait , like most Kuwaitis, during 1990-1991. But Abu Muhammed and most members of his family stayed in Kuwait during the invasion and the 1991 war, simply because they had nowhere to go.

After the war, Palestinians of Kuwait were denied return to the country. The government took Arafat's support for Saddam as an excuse to punish them. Thus, Palestinians were reduced from 450,000 to mere 30,000 people.

Those who remained in Kuwait were subjected to horrors and unfair reprisals, as I documented in Chapter 10 of my Book, mentioned below.

Like almost all Palestinians, Abu Muhammed focused all his attention to the education of his children. He sent Muhammed and Yousuf to Egypt where they graduated as civil engineers. He also sent Tareq to study business administration in the United States, who then became a US citizen. He sent Mervat to an Iraqi university in Baghdad but her study was interrupted. Abu Muhammed also attended the Arab University of Beirut, where he obtained his bachelor degree in the Arabic Literature.

When Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, Tareq was spending the summer vacation in Kuwait with the family. So, in the first opportunity, Tareq left to the United States through Iraq and Jordan. Before the War, Mervat got married in Kuwait but gave birth to her two daughters, Sarah and Sally, in Chattanooga, TN, where Tareq was studying. Thus, they became Americans by birth.

The US Embassy in Kuwait arranged for American citizens to be evacuated from Kuwait in 1990. So, Sarah, and Sally left Kuwait to the US together with their parents, Mervat and Muhammed. They stayed in Chattanooga TN, where Muhammed died. In 2005, Mervat, Sarah, and Sally returned to Kuwait to join the extended family there.

Abu Muhammed came to Chattanooga during the 1990s, where he was naturalized as an American citizen. He was so emotional the day of the naturalization ceremony that he spent hours talking to me, as I drove him to the immigration office in Knoxville, TN, about the difficulties and humiliation he always experienced at borders and airports of various Arab states because of his Palestinian travel document.

The vast majority of Arab states have strict visa rules that aim at restricting movement of Arab citizens in their Arab homeland. So, it is not a problem facing Palestinians alone. All Arabs, particularly from poor Arab states, have a hard time traveling from one state to another.

However, it has always been harder for Palestinians to travel using travel documents, not passports. These travel documents are issued by some Arab governments which administer affairs of Palestinians living within their jurisdiction. But these documents are neither honored by the states issuing them nor by other states. The Egyptian travel document issued to Palestinians from Gaza, for example, does not allow the document holder to enter Egypt without a visa, let alone entering other Arab states.

It was a dream for Abu Muhammed to become an American citizen, so he can hold an American passport, to have some respect and less hardship when he travels. He told me that he felt better and they treated him better when he had the US passport. But this was only when he reached his late sixties, when he needed the passport least. Anyway, it was a dream, which became true.

Finally, Abu Muhammed was a poet. He wrote many poems about Palestine, exile, injustice, yearning to the homeland, and hope for a better future. But he did not publish them. I hope that one of his children or grandchildren collect them and publish them for Arabic readers to enjoy what Abu Muhammed has been writing for decades. I also hope that one of his children or grandchildren translate them into English, so people around the world may know about about Abu Muhammed, his pains, and his dreams.

Yesterday, Abu Muhammed died among his children and grandchildren in Kuwait. He must have been proud for what he had accomplished, particularly his focus on education and his continuous struggle to provide his family with a decent standard of living despite all the odds.

I can't end this article about the life of Abu Muhammed without expressing sadness regarding what happened to the Palestinian people, and to him, as he was one of them.

I wonder:

Why did they have to suffer?

Why do they have to suffer?

It's unfair that Arab governments have not accommodated the residence, travel, and immigration needs of the Palestinian people.

It's unfair that immigrants continue to be treated as foreigners, no matters how long they live in these Arab states.

It's unfair that Abu Muhammed was not given the Kuwait citizenship before the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, after serving the country for 29 years.

It's unfair that he was fired, like all the Palestinians in Kuwait, after the 1991 war, for no reason other than being a Palestinian.

It's unfair that European Zionists decided, in 1897, to establish Israel on the ruins of Palestine.

It was unfair that Palestinians, like Abu Muhammed, had to be evicted from their ancestral homeland in order for Jewish immigrants to come and live on their lands. They did nothing to Jews to be punished by them so long and as such.

It's unfair that Israelis still receive assistance from the US and EU while they continue to deny Palestinians their rights, particularly the right of return, compensation, and establishment of a Palestinian state.

It's unfair that Israelis still receive financial and military assistance from the US and the EU while they are occupying the West Bank and blockading the Gaza Strip.

It's unfair that our relatives in Gaza and the West Bank have been denied their salaries for seven months as a result of the US-EU-Israeli financial embargo.

I can't comprehend this cruelty!

May God bless you, Abu Muhammad.

May Almighty Allah compensate you for what you suffered in this unjust world.


                   ***                           ***                     ***                         ***

A Background About Palestinians in Kuwait

                   ***                           ***                     ***                         ***

The following is a background about Palestinians in Kuwait, from Chapter 10 of the Author's Book, "The Gulf War: Overreaction & Excessiveness" (Amazone Press, 2001), also published online at www.gulfwar1991.com

Coming to Kuwait 

     Palestinians came to Kuwait early in the twentieth century. In 1932, the Mufti of Palestine, Haj Amin Al- Hussaini, toured Islamic countries collecting donations for repairing Al-Aqsa Mosque of Jerusalem. Muslims everywhere competed for participating in that endeavor. Shaikh Ahmed Al-Jaber, ruler of Kuwait at that time, invited the Mufti to come to Kuwait for that purpose. Following that visit, the Shaikh requested him to send a number of Palestinian educators to Kuwait.[2] In response, the first Palestinians arrived in 1936, as explained in Appendix X.A.

     However, the first major wave of Palestinian immigrants came as a result of the 1948 war. The establishment of Israel in that year changed the vast majority of the Palestinian people into refugees in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. In order to remove them from the borders of Israel, the United Nations (UN) planned for their emigration to other parts of the Middle East. An ambitious educational program was adopted to prepare them for integration in the economies of the area, particularly those of the oil-rich Arab states. The UN educational program was so successful that the Palestinian level of higher education in the 1970s was among the highest in the world. The ratio of Palestinian college students to the general Palestinian population was 20/1000 in 1977. Among the refugee segment of the population, it was even higher reaching about 47/1000 in 1986.[3] For other leading societies, the ratio was 30/1000 for the U.S., 18/1000 for USSR, 9/1000 for France, 8/1000 for England, and 4/1000 for the Arab states as a whole.[4]

     Majority of the early Palestinians who emigrated to Kuwait, in the 1950s, were men. While many of them were young and unmarried, most of the married had left their families in Palestine or other neighboring Arab states. They came to Kuwait to make a living and to save up some money to send back home. They did not think about settling there. Therefore, they led a restricted social life that contributed little to their integration into the Kuwaiti society. The Palestinian teachers in the Kuwaiti island of Failaka represented this category of early immigrants. They lived together in one home in order to save up some money to help their families or their parents, back home. Once, they invited a British social anthropologist, Peter Lienhardt, to their place of residence. To his surprise, he discovered that they were not thinking about their life in Kuwait. Rather, it was Palestine that was living in their minds. It was very important for them to explain to him how the problem of Palestine started. They told him that Britain was responsible for the Palestinian problem. Through the 1917 Balfour declaration, Britain adopted the Zionist project that aimed at the establishment of Israel on the expense of the Palestinian people. They also blamed the United States for supporting Israel.[5] The behavior of these Palestinians in Kuwait, in the 1950s, may be considered representative of the behavior of Palestinians elsewhere until the late 1960s. They could not believe the injustice committed by Britain, the U.S., and Israel against them. Their country was taken from them by force; then, they were evicted from their towns and villages to live in refugee camps. Moreover, they were expected to forget the whole problem and live quietly in their camps. However, they have not accepted that unjust arrangement and decided to become self-reliant. Education enabled them to achieve that goal through getting jobs abroad. They were the pioneers who inspired younger generations of Palestinians to pursue higher education as the salvation from the humiliation and poverty in the refugee camps.

     Throughout the 1950s, Palestinians were treated very well by Kuwaitis to the extent that the first Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Chairman, Ahmed Al-Shukairi, expressed his gratitude for that treatment during his visit to Kuwait in 1964. His host Shaikh Sabah Al-Salem, then Foreign Minister and later the Emir, replied that Palestinians deserved to be well treated because of their skills and hard work. "Look at them. Among them is the best surgeon, the best doctor, and the best administrator. Without these skills, they would not have been appointed to these positions," he said.[6] In recognition for their sincere services, about two thousand of the Palestinian pioneers were granted the Kuwaiti citizenship.[7]

     These pioneers in Kuwait and other Gulf states played a major role in leading the Palestinian people in the struggle for their rights in Palestine. They participated in the establishment of various Palestinian political parties and organizations. Actually, Yasser Arafat and several other Palestinian leaders worked in Kuwait. Like other oil-rich Arab states, Kuwait was also the destination of many Palestinians who were looking for employment. Some of these reached Kuwait through very long and dangerous underground roads since several Arab states restricted their movement following the 1948 war. They ventured through the deserts of Jordan, Syria, and Iraq in order to avoid border checkpoints. Many of them died or were arrested then brought back to their camps, villages, or towns. The stories of these men inspired the Palestinian writer, Ghassan Kanafani, to write his novel, "Men under the Sun," in which he described these adventures.[8] Kanafani himself was an example of these pioneer leaders, as explained in Appendix X.B.

     By the end of the 1960s, Palestinians graduating from colleges and universities constituted the major Arab group of contenders for jobs in the economies of the oil-exporting Arab states, including Kuwait. The 1967 war convinced Palestinians that their stay in these states was becoming permanent. Their behavior started to change from using practical tactics for temporary stay to adopting strategies that aimed at permanent residence there. This meant that after getting jobs, Palestinian employees would get married or bring families, rent homes or apartments, and spend most of their income wherever they lived. In spite of their attempt to be permanent residents, Kuwait and the other Gulf states did not grant the vast majority of immigrants, including Palestinians, a permanent-resident status or citizenship. They had to live officially as temporary residents no matter how long they stayed in the country, even if they were born there. 

Four Waves of Palestinian Emigration 

     Palestinians experienced four main waves of emigration as a result of the 1948, 1956, 1967, and 1982 wars. The first wave followed the 1948 war, which was the culmination of developments that go back to the beginning of the century. On November 2, 1917, Britain issued the Balfour Declaration in which it promised to help create a Jewish homeland in Palestine. This led to the Palestinian struggle in order to gain independence from the British and to protect the unity of the country. Neither of these goals was achieved. Instead, the 1948 war resulted in the biggest Palestinian suffering. About one million Palestinians became refugees. Their homes and possessions were either destroyed or confiscated by the Israelis. After the war, they were neither allowed to return to their towns and villages nor were they compensated for the loss of their possessions, as called for by the UN resolution 194. Thus, they have remained in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria ever since.[9]

     The second wave of Palestinian emigration was in 1956 when Israel participated with Britain and France in attacking Egypt. On their way to the Suez Canal, the Israelis occupied the Gaza Strip. As a result, hundreds of Palestinians were killed and thousands were injured. This led many Palestinians to leave the Strip to Jordan and other countries, including Kuwait. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians had to go through the same bitter experience for the third time, a decade later. During the 1967 war, Israel occupied the Arab territories of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Sinai, and the Syrian Heights. The Israeli occupation split families and made their union impossible. People had to choose between being under the Israeli occupation, thus staying separated from other migrant members of their families, or leaving the occupied territories to be united with other family members or relatives abroad. A new wave of Palestinian emigration started first to Jordan, then to other countries, particularly to the oil-exporting Arab states. This was the time when the largest influx of Palestinians to Kuwait happened. That wave of immigrants was different from the previous ones in that it included more women and children. Additionally, more temporary immigrants became permanent. Successive Israeli governments adopted a policy of uprooting Palestinians. People were given travel permits for three-year periods. As a result, many of them lost their residence status in the occupied territories when they stayed abroad for more than three years.[10]

     The fourth Palestinian wave of immigration resulted from the Lebanese civil war in the 1970s and the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. Many Palestinians left Lebanon to several countries all over the world but few of them went to Kuwait, as Kuwaitis were determined not to receive them this time. By 1982, the 4.4 million Palestinians were uncomfortably dispersed in the Middle East and around the world. Various countries tried hard to keep the status quo by restricting their movement. Kuwait, for example, had 299,710 Palestinians who constituted about 22 percent of the population. This was the second largest Palestinian community outside Palestine and Jordan. Lebanon had the largest community, which numbered 358,207 constituting about 11 percent of the population (Table X.1).

     Kuwaitis started to fear that Palestinians may exceed them in number. This would mean a serious demographic challenge to the Kuwaiti population. Actually, by 1990, Palestinians became very close to Kuwaitis in number. While Kuwaiti citizens were about 564,262, Palestinians reached about 450,000 (Table X.2; Table I.2). The Kuwaiti government could have solved the problem of demographic imbalance by granting citizenship to qualified immigrants. However, it decided not to do so. In addition, it took several measures that aimed at decreasing the entry of Palestinians into the country and making their stay there more difficult. Moreover, Kuwaiti officials started planning to get rid of the Palestinians altogether. The Palestinian official support for Iraq during the 1990 crisis gave them the excuse they were looking for to evict the entire Palestinian community from the country. 

The Campaign of Ethnic Cleansing 

     The Kuwaiti government has succeeded in creating and perpetuating an ethnic identity for its citizens that has distinguished them from Arab immigrants. Hundreds of thousands of these immigrants were subjected to a terror campaign after the 1991 war that led to forcing them out of the country. Thus, the term "Ethnic Cleansing" is not an oversight or an exaggeration. It refers to the eviction of Arab immigrants, mainly Palestinians, from Kuwait following the Gulf War. Actually, the word "cleansing" itself was used by the Emir (ruler) of Kuwait in describing the eviction.[11] Several Kuwaiti officials were cited in the Western media using the same word in their description of the eviction campaign.[12]

Before the war 

     Before the 1990 crisis, some official sources estimated that Palestinians in Kuwait were about 400,000,[13] others estimated them to be about 450,000.[14] Between the beginning of summer of 1990 and the start of the war on January 17, 1991, many Palestinians were either on vacation outside Kuwait or left the country because of the crisis. Majority of them left to Jordan because they were Jordanian nationals. Following the war, the remaining Palestinians were estimated at about 180,000.[15] However, most of them left during 1991, as a result of the campaign that aimed at evicting them from the country. By April, they became about 150,000[16] and by August, they were reduced to about 100,000.[17] Some Kuwaiti officials, like Said Abdul-Aziz Abu-Abbas of the Defense Ministry, revealed from the beginning that only 30,000 would be allowed to stay.[18] According to a Western diplomat, only about 15,000 to 20,000 essential Palestinians would be allowed to stay in the country.[19]  By 1995, there were only 26,000 Palestinians in Kuwait (Table X.1), which confirmed the above-mentioned Kuwaiti plans of eviction.

     Those who remained were mainly from occupied Palestine (the West Bank and Gaza Strip) and Lebanon. They stayed because they could not find any country that would accept them, particularly the countries which host or control the main Palestinian communities in the Middle East: namely Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.

     The Israeli policy focused on dispersing Palestinians rather than allowing them to come back to the West Bank and Gaza Strip.[20] Jordan allowed only Palestinians with Jordanian passports to stay. The total number of Palestinians who came to Jordan was about 360,000.  While about 300,000 stayed in Jordan, about 4,000 went to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. About 21,000 immigrated to Canada, Australia, and other developed societies. The U.S. received 2,200 of these, mainly because they had American-born family members, as mentioned in Appendix X.C. The rest returned to the Palestinian occupied territories.[21]

     Egypt and Lebanon, which used to issue travel documents to Palestinians of the Gaza Strip and Lebanon, did not give them return visas. Thus, they could not enter these two states. More important was the fact that these Palestinians did not have any other home than Kuwait. For them, leaving would mean becoming homeless and jobless. Many of them experienced that difficult situation in 1948, 1956, 1967, and 1982. They did not want to be exposed to that humiliation again in 1991. This is why they stayed when Kuwaitis were leaving. During the first hours of the Iraqi invasion, the Kuwaiti government left to Saudi Arabia. This encouraged Kuwaitis to leave the country, as well. They received financial aid from their government (in-exile) and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states. No government offered Palestinians any help; therefore, they had no other alternative but to stay in Kuwait throughout the crisis, the war, and the stage of persecution that followed.

Appendix X. A

First Palestinians in Kuwait 

     In 1936, a four-member Palestinian educational mission arrived at Kuwait. Because they were all males, the Kuwaiti Council of Education asked the senior team member, Ahmed Shahabuddin, for two female teachers to start the first modern girls' school in the country. The two sisters Wasifah and Rifqah Udeh joined the educational mission in 1936 for that purpose. Muhammed Nejm, who was a teacher from the Palestinian village of Isdud, joined the team in 1938. He is remembered for the production of the first stage-play in Kuwait. In 1942, he returned to Palestine to teach in Yaffa schools. The Palestinian teachers made a very positive impression on Kuwaitis. Their hard work and honesty contributed to helping other Palestinians to come to Kuwait following the 1948 war. In particular, the president of the Kuwaiti Council of Education, Shaikh Abdullah Al-Jaber, and other Council members such as Nisf Al-Nisf were active in hiring Palestinian teachers. Muhammed Nejm, like many Palestinians from Yaffa, arrived to Egypt by boat in April 1948. The Egyptian government placed them in the Qantara concentration camp. He managed to send a letter to Abdul-Aziz Hussain, director of the Kuwaiti House in Cairo, who helped him out of the camp and sent him to Kuwait. The letter was carried by Khairuddin Abuljubain, another teacher from Yaffa who escaped from the camp earlier. Once in Kuwait, he sent visas to several Palestinian teachers to join him there, including Abuljubain who later became the first representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Kuwait (Ghabra, 1987: 34-37, 54, 58).  

Appendix X.B

Ghassan Kanafani 

     Ghassan Kanafani was born in Akka (Acre), Palestine, in 1936. He lived in Yaffa until 1948 when his family left to Lebanon then to Syria. He was an art teacher in the UN schools for Palestinian refugees in Syria. When he arrived at Kuwait in 1956, he continued teaching and started writing for newspapers. In 1960, he left to Beirut to work in the Arabic weekly, Al-Hurriya (Freedom). Starting from 1963, he worked in the daily, Al-Anwar, and the weekly, Al-Hawadith (Kanafani, 1981). Kanafani lived and worked for the transition from the Arab Nationalist Movement (ANM) to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). When the PFLP split in 1969, Al-Hurriya became the magazine of the new Democratic Front (DFLP). Then, Kanafani established Al-Hadaf (The Goal) to be the magazine of the PFLP. He stayed as its editor-in-chief until his assassination by the Israelis in July 1972 (Ahmed Dahboor in Al-Hayat Al-Jadeedah, July 16, 1997).

      Although Ghassan Kanafani wrote many novels, plays, short stories, critiques, and studies, his novel, "Men Under the Sun," which was published in 1963, was among his greatest works. Some literary critics such as Al-Yusuf attributed that to the great symbolic images that the characters represented. The novel portrayed the Palestinian struggle for survival in an impossible situation, in absence of a Palestinian leadership at the time, and under the corrupt and ignorant Arab leaders (Al-Yusuf, 1985). However, the greatness of the novel is in its thorough description of the Palestinian journey from refugee camps to Kuwait. It is a documentation of the Palestinian emigration to the Gulf. It also represents the Palestinian struggle for survival amidst Arab regimes whose major concern has been controlling their borders tightly in an attempt to restrict the movement of Arabs in their own homeland.  

Appendix X.C

Palestinians Taking Refuge in America  

     About 2,200 Palestinians were brought to the U.S. from Kuwait, before the war, on the "Freedom Flights." They were allowed to come to America because a member of the family was an American, typically a child who was born in the U.S. About 100 families of them settled in Los Angeles and about 60 families settled in Raleigh, NC, simply because the planes stopped there. They had no other places to go to. When they arrived, they received a hero's welcome, with bands at airports, cheering crowds, and reservations at five-star hotels. After the war, Kuwait refused to grant them return visas and the U.S. government asked them to pay for the flight and the hotel expenses. They could not get suitable jobs because their visas would expire by December 31, 1991. President Bush ended the problem by giving them a four-year reprieve during which they could apply for permanent-residence status in the U.S. through employment, joining relatives, and political asylum (The Los Angeles Times, November 14 & 16, 1991).



(Full references can be found at www.gulfwar1991.com)

[1]. During a June 11, 1991 Congressional hearing, the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations in the U.S. House of Representatives, Lee Hamilton, used the word "atrocities" to describe the Kuwaiti terror campaign (Congress, 1991: 87) 

[2]. Al-Shahi, 1993: 10-113. El-Najjar, 1993; El-Najjar, 1988.

4. Hallaj, 1980.
5. Lienhardt, 1993: 44, 87.
6. Ghabra, 1987: 41. 

[7]. Among these were members of the first educational mission, early administrators such as Khaled Al-Hassan who became a PLO leader, Tal'at Al-Ghussain who became an ambassador to the United States, and General Wajih Al-Madani, who became the first commander-in-chief of the PLO Army between 1965 and 1969. Among the pioneering women, who played important roles in the education of Kuwaiti women, were Muyasser Shahin, Fayzeh Kanafani, and Ulfa Qutaini.  

[8]. Ghabra, 1987: 43, 47-50, 66-70

[9]. El-Najjar, 1993.
[10]. El-Najjar, 1988.
[11]. MEW, 1991: 1, 4-5.
[12]. The Guardian, March 13, 1991; USA Today, April 3, 1991.
[13]. Alessa, 1993: 114.
[14]. The New York Times, March 14, 1991; USA Today, April 3, 1991.
[15]. The Chicago Tribune, March 4, 1991.
[16]. USA Today, April 3, 1991.
[17]. The Christian Science Monitor, August 2, 1991.
[18]. The New York Times, March 14, 1991.
[19]. The Christian Science Monitor, August 2, 1991.
[20]. El-Najjar, 1993.
[21]. Van Hear, 1995.


Earth, a planet hungry for peace

 Apartheid Wall

The Israeli Land-Grab Apartheid Wall built inside the Palestinian territories, here separating Abu Dis from occupied East Jerusalem. (IPC, 7/4/04).


The Israeli apartheid (security) wall around Palestinian population centers in the West Bank, like a Python. (Alquds,10/25/03).

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