The Macksey Journal


As a network of people spread across various nations, the experiential perspective of Palestinians in diaspora varies greatly. A particular place and time significant to the development of Palestinian diasporic functionalities was Kuwait from 1948 to the beginning of the Gulf war. As the discovery of commercial quantities of oil in Kuwait nearly coincided with the declaration of the Israeli state, the young Emirate required a labor force to match grandiose plans for development. As a result, Kuwait made itself a unique space for Palestinians and other migrants. But, due to the dominant role Palestinians in particular took in working and developing Kuwait, in conjunction with their prospect of settlement and "permanence" within the Emirate, the Kuwaiti government provided Palestinians privileges and rights as residents that were unprecedented in the Arab world at the time. Palestinians were supported in various endeavors, from establishing PLO administered schools to the formation of family-based Diwans. Through explaining individual experiences in Kuwait, along with analyzing Kuwaiti policies and regional politics, this discussion illustrates how Kuwaiti national development as a result of oil revenue inadvertently began to solidify Palestinian efforts developing a coherent diaspora, but then regressed as Kuwait approached the eve of Saddam Hussein's invasion.