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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Lebanon, the apartheid state

From The Daily Star (Lebanon):
Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are two times more likely to live in poverty than other Lebanese people, preliminary report findings released Tuesday have shown.

The “Socio-Economic Survey of Palestine Refugees in Lebanon” is the first comprehensive evaluation of its kind. It assesses the demographics of the Palestinian population as well as their access to the labor market and various health, education and housing needs.

The full findings of the European Union (EU)-funded survey are not expected until the end of the month, but the initial results paint a rather bleak picture for the 260,000 – 280,000 Palestinian refugees the report found to be living in the country.

This is a significantly smaller figure than the 425,000 UN registered refugees, many of whom are thought to have emigrated in search of work.

“Anyone who has visited one of the Palestinian camps in Lebanon knows that poverty is widespread there and the living conditions are simply unacceptable for a middle-income country,” said EU operation section head Diege Escalona Paturel. “Until today no reliable data on the socio-economic situation and poverty levels in the camps existed and thus all programs and campaigns have been based on estimates and guesses in the best case, propaganda in the worst.”

The survey, conducted by researchers at the American University Beirut (AUB) in coordination with United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA) statisticians, found jobless rates among Palestinians to be 56 percent, with only 38 percent of the working population – 53,000 out of 120,000 refugees – considered to be in stable employment.

A mere 6 percent of Palestinians go on to attend university, in contrast to 20 percent of Lebanese, the report said. [In Gaza the number is closer to 46.2% - EoZ, h/t Zach]

A large amount of blame is being placed on the perceived lack of opportunities, limited by state restrictions requiring Palestinians to obtain work permits and which, in spite of recent relaxations, still exclude Palestinians from certain professions, such as medicine.
To put these numbers in context, it means that the unemployment rate of Palestinian Arabs in a sovereign Arab country is far higher than they are in "besieged" Gaza, where the rate is about 35%. The poverty rate in Lebanon for Palestinian Arabs is also higher than in Gaza.

So where are the convoys and flotillas by "pro-Palestinian activists" to help the Arabs of Palestinian descent who live in Lebanon?

Oh, sorry, no one cares about them, because "pro-Palestinian" activists only care when they can blame Palestinian Arab misery on Israel. When Arabs deliberately discriminate against their Palestinian brethren, it gets hushed up so as not to dilute the message that Israel is uniquely evil and that somehow Israel is to blame for the past six decades of Arabs treating Palestinian Arabs like dirt.

In this case, their fellow Arabs are simply following  Lebanese laws specifically written to discriminate against Palestinian Arabs.

You know....the textbook definition of apartheid.

(h/t Backspin)