World is Silent as Lebanon Abuses Palestinian Refugees

January 9, 2014 8:11 am 5 comments

The Israel - Lebanese border. Photo: wiki commons.

From IPS:

Over the past year more than 50,000 Palestinian refugees have fled violence, chaos and destitution in Syria to seek sanctuary in Lebanon. The vast majority have found themselves living in dire poverty, and trapped in chronically insecure existence.

Denied assurances of legal residence many are unsure if and how they can continue to live in the country into the New Year.

“Who, I mean really who from the Palestinian families can pay 200 dollars for the papers for every family member? If the average family is five people, then that is 1,000 dollars. This is impossible as we know most Palestinian refugees are’t even sure how they are going to feed their children one day to the next,” Mahmoud Assir Saawi, president of the Council for Palestinian Refugees Fleeing from Syria told IPS.

Such sentiments are reiterated time and time again within the squalid camps and overcrowded ghettoes throughout Lebanon. Palestinians arriving from Syria find themselves in an administrative and bureaucratic morass hobbled by decades of troubled history and war that offers them scant security.

The presence of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in Lebanon has always been a highly divisive issue, with many Lebanese blaming Palestinians for the role they played in the nation’s rancorous civil war from 1975 to 1990. The arrival of large communities of their compatriots this past year has further exacerbated existing fears and prejudices.

It is perhaps for this reason that the arriving Palestinians have been classified as “guests”, “migrants” or “displaced people”. To afford them the more apt title of “refugee” would bring with it legal obligations, most notably under the Geneva convention, which Lebanon would struggle to realise.

Fears of Palestinian, and even Syrian refugees settling in Lebanon permanently, and thus shifting the precarious sectarian balance within the country, are common and are regularly aired in the media and by politicians. As such the refugees’ status remains vulnerable and their sanctuary insecure.

Securing residency papers remains one of the biggest problems for Palestinian refugees from Syria. Upon arrival Palestinians fleeing war and hunger are only granted a one-week visa in Lebanon, which then must then extend.

Palestinian journalist Maher Ayoub from Yarmouk Camp in Damascus knows first hand about the vulnerability of life in Lebanon. On a recent trip to renew his papers he was ordered to leave the country within the week, despite assurances from the Lebanese government that it would not throw out any refugees.

Faced with incarceration in Lebanon or a perilous return to Syria, he has taken refuge in one of the Palestinian camps Lebanese security services are not allowed to enter under an agreement reached at the end of the civil war.

“Where can I go? What can I do? I have no options now,” Ayoub told IPS.

Many other Palestinian refugees distrustful of the security services or fearful of being unable to pay their annual visa renewal fees are seeking cover within the camps. The reality is a life of incarceration in chronically overcrowded hovels of destitutionwhere unemployment is rife.

“We know they are our brethren and we must help them but this is becoming untenable,” said Abu Ahmad, a Lebanese-Palestinian resident from Chatilla camp. “I used to get at least a week’s work every month but now there is nothing. Every day we are seeing problems in the camp because of the desperation and the lack of work. People are even starting to pull weapons on each other. We need more support.”

Has anyone condemned Lebanon for its policy of treating Palestinians from Syria worse than other Syrian refugees?

Has anyone condemned Lebanon for forcing the Palestinians to return to a war zone?

Has anyone condemned Lebanon for effectively imprisoning them in overcrowded camps that they cannot leave without fear of expulsion?

Nope, this story – like the story of Palestinians in Syria literally starving to death – is all but ignored by the people who love to condemn Israel for the smallest perceived offenses.

When you hear someone say they are “pro-Palestinian,” ask them exactly what they are doing for the Palestinian Arabs being oppressed in Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, and Jordan. Where are their flotillas, their convoys, their art exhibits, their press releases, their letters to the editor, their church stunts?

Their silence explains exactly how “pro-Palestinian” they really are.

5 Comments

  • Gross hypocrisy among Western critics of Israel? Double standards to use against Israel. Selective reporting w/o analysis?

    Who could ever believe these charges?

  • I agree there is a serious double-standard in how Lebanon and Israel treat Palestinians living in their respective refugee camps but let’s not forget that Lebanon is being help captive by Hezbollah and we know what their agenda is. Even if the Lebanese would treat those in the camps a worse than Israel or the PA do, the fact that Hezbollah has infiltrated the Lebanese government is significant and I feel the blame should go to Hezbollah not the Lebanese who are in effect also victims.

  • The Lebanese have always treated the Palestinians as if they were subhuman.

    Please call it what it is: Arab Apartheid.

    • So how many did Israelis let in. I understand they pretty much control the west bank border also.

  • How about…you know let them go back to their homeland.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Blogs Education Seeds of ‘Start-Up Nation’ Cultivated by Israel Sci-Tech Schools

    Seeds of ‘Start-Up Nation’ Cultivated by Israel Sci-Tech Schools

    JNS.org – Forget the dioramas. How about working on an Israeli Air Force drone? That’s exactly the kind of beyond-their-years access enjoyed by students at the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) industrial vocational high school run by Israel Sci-Tech Schools, the largest education network in the Jewish state. More than 300 students (250 on the high school level and 68 at a two-year vocational academy) get hands-on training in the disciplines of aviation mechanics, electricity and energy control, and unmanned air [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Education Haredim and Bedouin: A Tale of Two Communities Transformed by Vocational Education

    Haredim and Bedouin: A Tale of Two Communities Transformed by Vocational Education

    JNS.org – Low enlistment rates in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). High rates of poverty. Communal resistance to traditional schooling. Difficulty finding employment or a lack of motivation to be employed. These conditions are shared by two sectors of the Israeli population that the casual observer likely wouldn’t group together: haredi Jews and Bedouin. Through its operation of schools for each population, however, the Israel Sci-Tech Schools Network seeks to give haredim and Bedouin a brighter future in the Jewish [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Theater US & Canada New Play Explores the ‘Arrogance’ of American Jews Critical of Israel, Playwright Says

    New Play Explores the ‘Arrogance’ of American Jews Critical of Israel, Playwright Says

    In his new play Mr. Goldberg Goes to Tel Aviv, playwright Oren Safdie tackles an issue that he has a major concern with: the relationship between Israelis and left-leaning Diaspora Jews with their “I know better” critical views. At the heart of the one-act play is Tony, a Jewish and gay Palestinian sympathizer who expresses strong anti-Israel sentiments when the play begins and at one point even sides with a Palestinian terrorist who holds his captive. Tony, who is also an [...]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Hassidic Parody of Taylor Swift Song Apes Long Jewish Holidays (VIDEO)

    Hassidic Parody of Taylor Swift Song Apes Long Jewish Holidays (VIDEO)

    A Jewish comedy troupe released a parody video on Wednesday of Taylor Swift’s hit song Shake It Off in which they joke about taking extensive time off from work for Jewish holidays. “And the goyim gonna stay, stay, stay, stay, stay. And the Jews are gonna pray, pray pray, pray, pray. I’m just gonna take, take, take, take, take. I’m taking off,” goes the chorus for I’m Taking Off. Menachem Weinstein, the video’s lead singer, is the creative director at [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Literature On 75th Anniversary, Looking at the Jewish Influence on Gone With the Wind

    On 75th Anniversary, Looking at the Jewish Influence on Gone With the Wind

    JNS.org – The 75th anniversary of the premiere of “Gone with the Wind” on Dec. 15 presents an opportunity to examine the Jewish influence on one of the most popular films of all time. That influence starts with the American Civil War epic’s famed producer, David O. Selznick. Adjusted for inflation, “Gone with the Wind” remains the highest-grossing movie ever made. It earned the 1939 Academy Award for Best Picture, the same honor another Selznick film, “Rebecca,” garnered in 1940. Selznick [...]

    Read more →
  • Featured Music US & Canada EXCLUSIVE: Matisyahu Provides Most Extensive Analysis Yet of His Religious, Musical Evolution (INTERVIEW)

    EXCLUSIVE: Matisyahu Provides Most Extensive Analysis Yet of His Religious, Musical Evolution (INTERVIEW)

    Matisyahu got candid in an exclusive interview with The Algemeiner on Monday about his religious and musical journey – after shedding his Chassidic skin, yarmulke, long beard and all – from the start of his career in 2005 when he became a reggae superstar with hits King Without a Crown and Jerusalem. The singer-songwriter embarks on his Festival of Light tour this month, an annual Hanukkah event that stops in Montreal, New York, and other cities before ending in San Juan, [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Personalities ‘Sheriff of Mars’ Unveils Endearing Life of Jewish Music Star Hidden in the Fields of France

    ‘Sheriff of Mars’ Unveils Endearing Life of Jewish Music Star Hidden in the Fields of France

    JNS.org – It was an era of steel strings, guitar heroes, and storytellers—high on heroin, rebellious. Outlaw country music, the hallmark of Nashville’s powerful and angry music scene of the 1970s, was the brew of greats such as Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Townes Van Zandt. But there is another, little-known music hero of that era: Daniel Antopolsky. A Jewish lad from Augusta, Ga.—the son of immigrants who settled in the south and ran a hardware store on Main Street—the [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Iranian Actress Replaces Israel’s Gal Gadot for ‘Ben-Hur’ Remake

    Iranian Actress Replaces Israel’s Gal Gadot for ‘Ben-Hur’ Remake

    Iranian actress Nazanin Boniadi replaced Israeli star Gal Gadot as the female lead in the new Ben-Hur remake, Hollywood.com reported on Tuesday. The Homeland actress will play Esther, a slave that Ben-Hur sets free and falls in love with. Gadot quit the movie when it became clear that filming conflicted with her schedule for the Man of Steel sequel. The Israeli actress plays Wonder Woman in the superhero film Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Actor Jack Huston takes on the [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.