There has been so much coverage of the Palestinians in Gaza these past few weeks, that we often forget about other Palestinians who are without a
home. While the Palestinian people remain scattered throughout the world, there are many who are in a no-country zone in Lebanon. We will return to
the no-country reference momentarily, but first a little background.
Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli war many Palestinians fled their homeland and sought refuge in Lebanon. Their numbers grew dramatically after the
1967 war and again after their 1970 expulsion from Jordan, due to the PLO bombing of civilian aircraft. In the following years the Palestinian people
were caught between civil wars and Lebanon-Israeli wars, all with nowhere else to go. We could delve further into the various wars and their
consequences, but that is for another time, as our focus at this time is more of the social and political struggle the Palestinian people are
It is estimated there are somewhere between 300,000 and 450,000 Palestinians currently living in refugee camps scattered throughout Lebanon. Although
the word living does not exactly describe the living conditions for these people. The Lebanese government debates from time to time on just how much
“basic rights” to grant to the Palestinians. Unfortunately, these “basic rights” are little more than the right to breathe, as there is an
estimated 60% unemployment rate amongst the Palestinians, and up to 2005 they were not permitted to even apply to work in more than 70 categories. In
2005, the Lebanon government lifted the ban on about 50 categories, but it has not helped the people find jobs, especially since foreigners have more
opportunities for employment than the Palestinians. Indeed there is open discrimination toward the Palestinian people in Lebanon.
Needless to say the living conditions for the Palestinian people living in Lebanon are appalling. This should come as no surprise since a study was
completed in 2000 that surmised that the average Palestinian household had an average annual income of approximately $3,667 dollars. Many of these
refugees also live in a state of non-existence, meaning they have lost their identity papers in one of the many wars that have occurred over the years
in Lebanon, so they cannot travel, nor can they work or apply to any government subsistence programs as they do not exist, as least so far as the
Lebanese government is concerned.
Although the situation in Gaza has been discussed and debated from many angles, and this discussion does not seek to distract or diminish their own
problems, let us not forget there are Palestinian people who are in far greater distress than their brothers and sisters in Gaza. Unfortunately it
seems that even other Arabs have turned a blind eye to their plight as well, as everyone from neighboring Arab countries to the Palestinian leadership
are all working towards their own agendas instead of helping their own people.
The nation's of the region and the world all talk of peace in the Middle East. This seems to be an all consuming yet elusive subject. Yet, when
entire people(s) are shoved aside and degraded as the Palestinians have been, then where's the peace until the human suffering and indignity have
there is no Palestinian people. they have no distinct culture, history, language, religion, ethnicity, or nation now or in the past. they are the
creation of an amalgam comprised of Jordan, Eygpt, Syria, the msm and an assortment of left wing alturist looking for a cause.
Yes, I am familiar with the history, and I am also familiar with Yasar Arafat's own statements, and also that Lebanon has been a PLO stronghold for
the past several years. However, that does not explain, nor excuse the treatment of these people in Lebanon. Why have these people not been
assimilated into the Arab community in Lebanon or elsewhere as other Palestinians have in Jordan, Syria, etc?
There have been many discussions and debates on this board regarding the treatment of the Palestinian people in Gaza. It would seem there are a group
of the same peoples who are treated the same and in ways far worse by their own Arab brethren in Lebanon, than those in Gaza are treated by the
Israelis. And for the record, that observation does not excuse any wrongful Israeli actions either. Right is right and wrong is wrong no matter
where it is.
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