Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Predicament of Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon

By Ramzy Baroud
Palestine Chronicle

"When Lebanese security reportedly killed 18-year-old Ahmad al-Qasim over a documentation dispute in the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, the camp's Palestinian refugee population erupted in anger and dismay.

Within a few days of the June 15 incident, the outrage had spread and more refugees were killed. Fouad Muhi’edeen Lubany was killed on June 18, as a crowd of mourning refugees attempted to bury the first victim of Nahr al-Bared, near Tripoli in the north. Another victim of the violence was Khaled al-Youssef, who was shot in Ein al-Hilweh refugee camp, near Saida, about 30 miles south of Beirut. More Palestinians were reportedly injured, along with three Lebanese security officers.

Palestinian refugees in Lebanon exist on the margins of a larger political question concerning the country’s irreconcilable sectarian, factional and familial divides....

Lebanon’s Palestinian refugees continue to be victimized by a bewildering political landscape and unmistakable discrimination by the state. Their treatment is often justified by the pretense that Palestinian refugees are temporary ‘guests’ in Lebanon. Now even third generation ‘guests’ of a UN-registered population of nearly 450,000 refugees are denied home ownership, inheritance of land or real estate. They are also barred from many professions. The state of near complete economic stagnation has resulted in socioeconomic regression, placing Palestinian refugees in Lebanon at a very low standing with little hope for the future.

In a report released on June 20 to coincide with World Refugee Day, American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) resolved that “Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon are considered the worst of the region’s refugee camps in terms of poverty, health, education and living conditions.” ANERA reported that two out of three refugees subsist on less than $6 a day, and that discrimination against them is expressed in multiple areas ranging from health care to housing....."

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