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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Lebanese follies

The international community is pledging hundreds of millions of dollars to rebuild the Nahr al-Bared camp in Lebanon, destroyed last year in factional fighting.

Lebanese Prime Minister Siniora wants to make absolutely sure that these donors don't even think that this money will go towards giving Palestinian Arabs permanent homes in Lebanon. In response to a question at the donor conference, Siniora stressed that while Lebanon needs to maintain its sovereignty over all its territory this cannot mean that Palestinian Arabs who have lived there for generations will ever become normal citizens. So Siniora needs to make himself look like he cares about Palestinian Arabs who have lost their homes due to fighting, just not too much. Just enough to soak the international community for hundreds of millions of dollars.

Ironically, at the same time there is more factional fighting in Lebanon, with a death toll so far of eight. A Kuwaiti newspaper is reporting that Syrian soldiers are behind the latest clashes, between Alawites and Sunnis. Siniora won't comment on that one, though.