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Friday, August 19, 2011

Lebanese Palestinians don't care about statehood - they want their rights

Now Lebanon interviews Palestinian Arabs about the September UN statehood stunt:

In Lebanon, at least among the Palestinian populations living in Sabra, Shatila and Ain al-Hilweh, the potentially historic moment does not appear to have caused much of a stir.

“We are hopeful,” said Nawad, a nurse at a clinic near the entrance to the Shatila camp on the outskirts of Beirut. “But I don’t hear the issue discussed around the camp.”

Indeed, around a quarter of respondents were unaware of the bid or knew only the scantest of details.

Among those familiar with the plan, their greatest concern was over the effect recognition of the State of Palestine would have on their status as refugees in Lebanon.

I hope the law will give us the right to work and to buy property in Lebanon like other nationalities,” said Nawad.

“I have business in Syria but have to return to Lebanon every seven days with the pass I have. Will [UN membership] help with the bureaucratic hassle?” asked 34-year-old Sabra resident Saleh.
As I have documented many times, Lebanese Palestinians' main concern is that the state-sanctioned discrimination that is directed at them specifically be ended. This is something that Mahmoud Abbas is fighting against.

These were the only normal Palestinian Arabs that were interviewed. Among the self-appointed "leaders," their concerns were way out of sync with what their people care about:

According to Mounir Maqdah, a Fatah official in Ain al-Hilweh, Abbas’ diplomatic course undermines the Palestinian cause. After criticizing the bid for failing to tackle the issue of Israeli settlements and for not accounting for the territory occupied by Israel, he told NOW Lebanon that Palestinians should remain united and “regain our power by choosing once again the path of resistance. Only a military solution will be considered as a credible one and put fear in the hearts of Israelis.”

Hajj Maher Oueid, head of Ansar Allah, an Islamic faction close to Hezbollah, is more measured in his criticism. He believes the bid lacks in ambition and will probably remain fruitless, as it only calls for the recognition of the Palestinian state along the 1967 borders. “The bid does not tackle the real underlying problem of the right of return of Palestinian refugees, amounting today to some six million around the world,” he told NOW Lebanon. “A fair solution is one that is comprehensive and benefits all Palestinian refugees. This one is not.
Isn't it interesting that the leaders' concerns are centered on destroying Israel while the actual Palestinian Arabs in Lebanon just want to live their lives without being discriminated against?