Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Nahr al-Bared reconstruction delay throws civil rights into spotlight

Ray Smith, The Electronic Intifada, 30 November 2010

"More than three years after Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in the north of Lebanon was destroyed, its reconstruction is finally under way. However, the process runs at a slow pace and remains only partially funded as further political obstacles appear on the horizon. Meanwhile, the Lebanese army continues to maintain a tight grip on the camp's residents and attempts to silence any criticism.

Anyone approaching the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp on the highway connecting the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli to the Syrian border can see it -- the first row of houses are four stories high. After three years of tough negotiations, countless obstacles and various delays, reconstruction is actually underway.

The master plan for the reconstruction of the camp was prepared in early 2008, only half a year after a 15-week battle between the Lebanese army and the non-Palestinian militant group Fatah al-Islam that left the camp totally devastated. The camp's 30,000 residents were displaced, some for the third or fourth time since they were expelled from Palestine by Zionist militias in 1948 -- what Palestinians call the Nakba.

Delayed reconstruction


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