From Our Own Correspondent did a quick report by Matthew Taylor on the Bedouin living in Kuwait…revealing the plight they find themselves in labelled illegal foreigners and therefore ‘stateless’ by Kuwait with no citizenship or rights…unable to get jobs, birth certificates or own property or run businesses.
Kuwait claims they are in the country to claim the material benefits on offer to its citizens….free education, free healthcare, no taxes, subsidised houses, lavish unemployment benefits, a monthly food allowance and more.
The BBC wheeled in a ‘rights campaigner’ to tell us that this is a result of discrimination by Kuwaitis who ‘have been taught to be selfish, Kuwaitis are racist.’
The reporter wraps up by telling us that Kuwait must now deal with an entire generation born in poverty, raised with little or no schooling but now self educated in human rights…..absorbing the Bedouin into mainstream Kuwaiti society would anger many Kuwaitis but inaction could be costlier.
Two things to say about that report…first there is the allusion to anyone opposed to immigration being selfish and racist…. You can be sure someone at the BBC hopes that allusion to opponents of immigration being selfish and racist in Kuwait is picked up here.
Second….Bedouin in Kuwait? What’s so special about those in Kuwait? Bedouin suffer discrimination at the hands of other Middle Eastern states not just Kuwait.
Ah, but hang on….that might have been tricky for the BBC to negotiate….if you look at the Bedouin across the Middle East then you would also have to look at those in Israel and how they are treated there…and then compare the treatment in ‘apartheid’ Israel which supposedly hates all things Arab with that of Arab nations with Bedouin populations (and then also compare the treatment of Palestinians in Israel to those in other Arab states)…..
‘In most countries in the Middle East the Bedouin have no land rights, only users’ privileges, and it is especially true for Egypt. Since the mid-1980s, the Bedouins who held desirable coastal property have lost control of much of their land as it was sold by the Egyptian government to hotel operators. Egypt didn’t see it as the land that belongs to Bedouin tribes, but rather as a state property.’
In fact the BBC has done reports on the Bedouin in Israel…but like this one they are entirely negative in outlook turning a huge investment in the Bedouin by Israel into yet another ‘apartheid’ story.
Israel is not perfect in its treatment of Bedouin but by comparison with many neighbouring Arab countries Israel must be one of the best, if not the best, for Bedouin to live in…..
A Ministerial Committee for the Advancement of Bedouin Affairs, comprising ten government ministers has been set up and, over the next four to five years, billions of NIS (Shekels) will be allotted for the implementation of the new programs. The Minister of National Infrastructure, who is responsible for construction and housing as well as for the Israel Lands Administration, has been empowered to negotiate with the Bedouin regarding land rights and has adopted a policy of a “once-and-for-all” solution to those problems.
Israel is currently building or enlarging some 13 towns and cities in the Negev (to house Bedouin). According to the general planning, all of them will be fully equipped with the relevant infrastructure: schools, medical clinics, postal offices, etc. and they also will have electricity, running water and waste control. Several new industrial zones meant to fight unemployment are planned, some are already being constructed, like Idan haNegev in the suburbs of Rahat. It will have a hospital and a new campus inside. The Bedouins of Israel receive free education and medical services from the state. They are allotted child cash benefits, which has attributed to the high birthrate among the Bedouin (5% growth per year). But unemployment rate remains very high, and few obtain a high school degree (4%), and even fewer graduate from college (0.6%).
Here are two articles which give a perspective on Israel that the BBC doesn’t care to give:
Israel & The Palestinians – What the Western Media misses
FrumForum report the words of Israeli Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh and a fascinating read they are. Here’s an extract:
‘I asked Toameh how, as an Arab Muslim Israeli, he responds to accusations that Israel is an apartheid state.
“Israel is not an apartheid state. But there are problems and some discrimination with the Arab minority inside Israel. If Israel were an apartheid state, I, for example, would not be allowed to work for a Jewish newspaper or live in a Jewish neighborhood or own a home. The real apartheid is in Lebanon, where there is a law that bans Palestinians from working in over 50 professions. Can you imagine if the Knesset passed a law banning Arabs from working even in one profession? The real apartheid is also in many Arab and Muslim nations, like Kuwait, where my Palestinian uncle, who has been living there for 35 years is banned from buying a house. The law of Israel does not distinguish between a Jew and an Arab.”
But what about the media’s need for an anti-Israeli angle on stories? Toameh says that when he tried to alert many of his foreign colleagues that Palestinians were dying because of an internal power struggle or gross corruption by Arafat and the Palestinian Authority, their reflex response was:
“Where’s the anti-Israel angle to the story? Give us an anti-occupation story. Make our lives much easier. An Arab killing an Arab, that’s not a story for us.”
Focusing on the problem from Arab dictatorships and their insistence on inciting their people against Israel, Toameh says that we have a problem in the West in failing to believe what people tell us.
“If Hamas say they want to destroy you, you have no reason not to believe them. And if Ahmadinejad says he wants to destroy you, there’s no need to start analysing what he means by that. Stop fooling ourselves and if anyone thinks that Hamas will ever recognise Israel’s right to exist, you’re also living in an illusion. Take it from their mouth directly…the PLO however is different – they will tell you one thing in English and then another in Arabic.”
The hardest question that no Arab national wants to hear is whether Israel is the real enemy of the Arab world and the Arab people.
I decided to write this article after I saw photos and reports about a starving child in Yemen, a burned ancient Aleppo souk in Syria, the under developed Sinai in Egypt, car bombs in Iraq and the destroyed buildings in Libya. The photos and the reports were shown on the Al-Arabiya network, which is the most watched and respected news outlet in the Middle East.
The common thing among all what I saw is that the destruction and the atrocities are not done by an outside enemy. The starvation, the killings and the destruction in these Arab countries are done by the same hands that are supposed to protect and build the unity of these countries and safeguard the people of these countries. So, the question now is that who is the real enemy of the Arab world?
The Arab world wasted hundreds of billions of dollars and lost tens of thousands of innocent lives fighting Israel, which they considered is their sworn enemy, an enemy whose existence they never recognized. The Arab world has many enemies and Israel should have been at the bottom of the list. The real enemies of the Arab world are corruption, lack of good education, lack of good health care, lack of freedom, lack of respect for the human lives and finally, the Arab world had many dictators who used the Arab-Israeli conflict to suppress their own people.
These dictators’ atrocities against their own people are far worse than all the full-scale Arab-Israeli wars.
Finally, if many of the Arab states are in such disarray, then what happened to the Arabs’ sworn enemy (Israel)? Israel now has the most advanced research facilities, top universities and advanced infrastructure. Many Arabs don’t know that the life expectancy of the Palestinians living in Israel is far longer than many Arab states and they enjoy far better political and social freedom than many of their Arab brothers. Even the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip enjoy more political and social rights than some places in the Arab World. Wasn’t one of the judges who sent a former Israeli president to jail is an Israeli-Palestinian?
The Arab Spring showed the world that the Palestinians are happier and in better situation than their Arab brothers who fought to liberate them from the Israelis. Now, it is time to stop the hatred and wars and start to create better living conditions for the future Arab generations.