The Curse of Saddam on Palestinians

 My heart bleeds for the Palestinians and the conditions most of them live under. I have never been there but have heard enough stories and have seen enough footage to bring tears to my eyes at times. My education and past first-hand experiences, however, no matter how humble they are, urge me to always seek more in-depth assessments of situations. 

Memory takes me back to when the Palestinians were granted their first-ever embassy in the world. It was such a milestone for their international identity and should had been the greatest boost of moral after decades of having their existence marginalized. This was done by the Ayatollah of Iran and was amongst one of his very first acts after the Shah was toppled. Before you know it, Saddam attacked Iran and the PLO sent him an elite force of their Fida'is to invade, kill, and rape Iranian citizens in cities and towns on Iranian soil. There are no official accounts of the Palestinian involvement in the massacres of Iranian civilians but some of those Fida'is were captured during the Khorramshahr liberation. 
The Iranian public was baffled. Here are warriors who carry arms in the name of liberating their "beloved" Palestine but then are found proactively supporting a regime that has attacked the only country on earth which gave the Palestinians an embassy.  

Saddam Hussein also started a vicious ethnic cleansing campaign against Iraqis of Persian descent just before and during the first years of his attack on Iran. Well over 1 million Iraqis had their citizenships revoked and their properties confiscated. They were then executed or jailed in makeshift prison concentration camps and thrown on borders and battle fronts with Syria and Iran. 
Most of these Iraqis returned when Saddam was ousted in 2003. They claimed their properties back to find that many of those properties had Palestinian occupants who had gladly accepted Saddam's gifts. 

Again, Saddam attacked and invaded Kuwait and again, some Palestinians sided with him and assisted with the invasion and occupation of a little nation that had always stood up for them. It was rumored that Saddam had promised the P.L.O leader, Mr. Arafat, the establishment of a little Palestine on the newly acquired Kuwaiti territory. 

The repercussions of the Palestinian leaderships' diplomatic decisions over time on the majority of the Palestinian population were horrible. They lost Iran's confidence who defied international norms by taking away the property of the once Israeli embassy to give it to them. They lost Iraq's confidence who is now governed by the same people whose properties were unlawfully given to them. They lost Kuwait's confidence for siding with Saddam during his invasion. 

Bad things, very bad things, happened to the Palestinian average population due to their leaders' decisions. I am not attempting to give excuses for the killings of children and women in Gaza and the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria. Spectators around the world would like to always point the finger at the Israeli state when showing pictures of a Palestinian child shredded to pieces. The truth is, some or many of these children were also killed by Lebanese Christian militias, then Lebanese Moslem militias and then the Syrian army. 

It is of vital importance that the Palestinians wake up to what has been happening to them. The majority of them are victims of decisions and policies made by a minority of unwise spokesmen at best. They are generally good-natured people who have proven their competence in academic fields and have excelled, when allowed the chance, in industries that rely on high intellectual competence. They have brilliant upper-level education professors and incredible surgeons and engineers. What they don't have though, is appropriate community leaders and high-stakes decision makers.  

All the above is a recollection of events that may be agreed upon by many people and disputed by even more. Both groups would do well to confess, though, that when a crazed person decided to kill himself on a Jerusalem bus, taking with him the lives of so many innocents, a lot of Palestinians shook their heads in disbelief and disapproval although the mainstream media showed Palestinians celebrating the event. The same reaction came out of a good portion of the Israeli population with so many having denounced the Ibrahimi mosque massacre in Hebron. 

Back to the butcher of Iraq. Saddam Hussein caused the death of over 2 million Iraqis and Iranians. He fired missiles at Saudi Arabia and Israel. He invaded Kuwait. He backed up Lebanese factions against the Shiites of Lebanon. He antagonized Syria. Portraying public admiration for him means administering salt on the wounds of all these people. 

Does the Palestinian population in general and the people of Qalqilia in particular really want to endure more bad relations with Iran, Iraq, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and more? Do they really want a 20-foot  of an Arab Adolf Hitler erected in a major public area? 

It is a fact that dictators like Saddam were in the habit of sending hefty donations to newspapers and officials who cheered publicly for them. Well, Saddam is long gone; who is paying for this new publicity stunt? It is scary to think that Saddam's Baath party is still funding such paraphernalia. This implies that they are investing in a campaign and therefore, they have a comeback agenda. Otherwise, why throw money away. 

Palestinians should wake up to this and do something about it. They need to hold whoever is naming public squares after the likes of Saddam Hussein accountable. Chances are these officials are driving the general population towards more disasters and headaches. Figures are not concise but most reports indicate the number of Palestinians whose livelihoods ended and were expelled from Kuwait or just denied re-entry due to Yasser Arafat's blatant support of Saddam Hussein to be in the vicinity of 400,000. 

There is a good portion of the Israeli community that feels empathy towards the Palestinians; celebrating figures like Saddam is sure to cause a natural reaction of decreasing positive feelings. Said in simple words: It is not wise to cause unnecessary trouble.