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March 7, 2019 9:42 am

Arab ‘Human Rights’ Group Prefers Palestinians Stay in Lebanese Open-Air Prisons to Harm Israel

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Palestinians pass by the gate of an UNRWA-run school in Nablus in the West Bank, August 13, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Abed Omar Qusini.

The Arab Organisation for Human Rights (AOHR) in Britain republished a report from Middle East Monitor late last year complaining about Lebanese Palestinians who are leaving terrible conditions in Lebanon for Europe.

One wonders what “human rights” actually means in Arabic.

According to the report:

The depopulation of Lebanon’s refugee camps, which is happening at an alarming rate, should worry Palestinians more than any other current issue.

I spoke to Samaa Abu Sharar, a Palestinian activist in Lebanon and the director of the Majed Abu Sharar Media Foundation. She told me that the topic of conversation among refugees has changed in recent years. “Whereas almost everybody from young to old once spoke about their wish of returning to Palestine one day,” she explained, “at present the majority, particularly the youth, only express one wish: to leave for any other country that will accept them.”

It is common knowledge that Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are marginalised and mistreated more than most when compared with other refugee populations in the Middle East. They are denied most basic human rights enjoyed by Lebanese citizens or other foreigners in Lebanon, and even rights granted to refugees under international conventions. This includes the right to work, as they are denied access to 72 different professions.

Apparently abandoned in a hopeless situation, with a life of neglect and utter misery in 12 UN-registered refugee camps and a number of unofficial “gatherings” across Lebanon, Palestinian refugees have striven to better themselves for many years, driven by the dream of going back to their homeland one day.

However, the refugees and their Right of Return are no longer a priority for the Palestinian leadership. In fact, this has been the case for nearly two decades, and now the situation has worsened. Since the start of the Syrian war in 2011, tens of thousands more refugees have flooded the camps, which already lacked most basic services. Their misery was accentuated further when UNRWA, under intense US pressure and funding cuts, was forced to cancel or downgrade many of its essential services upon which refugees depend.

A suspiciously-timed census, the first of its kind, by the Lebanese Central Administration of Statistics and conducted jointly with the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics last December, resolved that the number of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon stands at only 175,000. The timing was interesting because the survey was conducted at a time that the US Administration was keen to reduce the “official” number of Palestinian refugees in anticipation of any future agreement between the PA and Israel. According to UNRWA statistics, though, there are more than 450,000 Palestinian refugees registered with the agency in Lebanon alone.

Clearly there are those who are keen to rid Lebanon of its Palestinian population.

“There is more than one organised network facilitating the migration of Palestinians at prices that have recently gone down to make it more accessible to a larger number of people,” Abu Sharar told me. The conclusion that many of these young men and women refugees now draw is that, “There is no future for them in Lebanon.”

This is not the happy, triumphant ending that generations of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon have hoped and fought for over the years.

Ignoring the miserable plight of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon is now coming at a heavy price. Relegating their plight to “final status negotiations”, a pipe dream that never materialised, is now leading to a two-fold crisis: the suffering of hundreds of thousands of people is getting worse, and we are witnessing the systematic destruction of one of the main pillars of the Palestinian struggle — the refugees’ inalienable Right of Return.

While the article makes it clear that Palestinians in Lebanon have it really bad, to the AOHR, the real problem is that when they leave, they can no longer be pawns to pressure Israel into accepting a “right of return.”

This is an amazing stance for a supposed human rights group to take.

And somehow, they are claiming that the exodus of Palestinians from Lebanon, which has been going on for decades, is connected with Trump’s “Deal of the Century.”

If the US was really behind finding new homes for oppressed Lebanese Palestinians, it should win a Nobel Peace Prize.

A supposed human rights group is upset that Palestinians are leaving a human hell hole to find a better life elsewhere. Why? Because the fewer Palestinians in UNRWA camps, the less of a problem they are for Israel.

It is a breathtakingly cynical thought process that prefers that Palestinians’ human rights be abused — and their lives destroyed — in order to attack Israel.

Elder of Ziyon has been blogging about Israel and the Arab world for a really long time now. He also controls the world, but deep down, you already knew that.

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