Misery in Lebanon: The Palestinian Refugees' 60th Year

60 years.

This is the age of the State of Israel and the age of the Palestinian refugee situation.
The birth of Israel resulted in the fleeing or forced expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. They sought refuge in neighboring countries. One of these countries is Lebanon.

There is no country of refuge that the Palestinian refugees fared worse- and are faring worse-than in Lebanon.

In the history of Palestine two massacres stand out in the international conscience- one is Deir Yassin in today’s Israel and the other is the Sabra and Shatila massacre in Beirut.

Every other day a Lebanese politician comes out of no where to state how the "conspiracy of naturalizing the Palestinians" would only succeed on his dead body. Each politician goes out of his way to show he is more against than anyone else the solving of the "Palestinian problem" by settling the Palestinians in Lebanon.

A Shia Islamist leader, not too long ago, said that the conspiracy is to remove the Lebanese Shia from the South and replace them with the Palestinian refugees!

During the civil war, the Christian rightist militias entered the civil war under the slogan of fighting the naturalization of the Palestinians. Of course, "Palestinian" here means the Sunni Muslim ones, the Christian Palestinians were overwhelmingly naturalized time ago and it’s a non-issue now- an American reporter of Palestinian Christian descent went to Lebanon to write on this issue and found it a taboo. During Elias Hrawi’s Presidency few thousand Shia Palestinians were naturalized.

The Christian rightists, until now, refuse to acknowledge that the problem they had with the Palestinian guerrilla groups is an issue of the difficulty of coexistence between a state and a revolutionary armed force. Until now, the rightist Lebanese groups go with that slogan of "no settlement" despite its discrediting by renowned scholars of Middle East politics.

The late Palestinian leader, PA President Yasser Arafat, was asked many times about the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. One time he answered that Lebanon is not the only country in the region that has Palestinian refugees, another time that in any future settlement of the refugee problem, those in Lebanon are first in line.

The way the issue of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are dealt with is a scandal. They are dehumanized and those dehumanizing them have no shame. The refugees are talked about as a "problem." They live in squalor, in crowded camps that are practically under siege by the Lebanese security forces and with tight restrictions on their movement. The Palestinian refugees, despite all international laws and norms, are denied basic civil and economic rights.
Very few politicians have the courage and conscience to speak out against the denial of basic rights to the Palestinian refugees. One of them is Walid Jumblatt.

But the Mother of all Scandals is the duplicitous dishonest position of the Islamists who speak day and night about their love of Palestine and Jerusalem but ignore the plight of the Palestinian refugees.


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