Monday, September 27, 2010

Egypt Air and Palestinians

A keen foreign correspondent in the Middle East sent me this (he/she does not want to be identified):  "EgyptAir has been given instructions now to hassle Palestinians with Egyptian-issued travel document for Palestinians flying to Egypt. They didn't want to let one on a flight from Dubai last week, one whose mother is Egyptian. She got on in the end, but imagine EgyptAir trying to do that to Palestinians or Egyptian-Palestinians with documents issued from Egypt itself. How low.   I also called up M., who appeared on an al-Jazeera discussion a few months ago about governments refusing children nationality of the mother. On the show she claimed things were about to change. Inspired by what happened last week, I wanted to speak to her to see if some action was imminent to force the Interior Minister to honour the law -- feted on al-Arabiyya a few years ago -- that Egyptian-Palestinians can also obtain nationality. What I found was her selling the idea that it's perfectly normal for each and every child of an Egyptian mother and Palestinian father to have to hire their own lawyer to raise a case with the Supreme Court (maglis al-dawla) to force the Interior Ministry to give them a passport. Apart from issues of cost and effort, what is astounding is that she knows very well the government will still ignore the courts. In fact, she is a lawyer, running a 'rights group' or NGO with a lofty title about defending mothers' rights, w hen in fact she is just living off the misery of others - though her group helps 'those who are unable' to bear costs, she says. "