Around 160,000 Palestinians are living below the poverty line in refugee camps in Lebanon, the ambassador to Beirut says.There were, at the end of 2010, between 260,000 and 280,000 Palestinian Arabs in Lebanon (UNRWA has over 465,000 registered "refugees" but about 200,000 actually left Lebanon for Europe and elsewhere.)
Nearly 13,000 Palestinian refugees are living in extreme poverty in Lebanon, Ashraf Dabour told Ma'an.
Palestinian refugees are banned from entering 75 professions in Lebanon. "Practicing any of these careers is considered a breach of Lebanese law," Dabour said.
The Lebanese parliament amended a law restricting Palestinian refugees' access to work. "However, the Lebanese cabinet has not put that amendment into effect," the Palestinian ambassador said.
"We hear sweet talk from Lebanese officials about the Palestinian refugees' right to work and live in dignity, but in reality nothing is translated into action."
Dabour said the Palestinian health sector in Lebanon owed hospitals around $2 million. "There are some medical procedures which our health security program in Lebanon can't afford, and I hereby urge Arab and Palestinian businessmen to help our people in refugee camps in Lebanon."
Which means that more than half of the Palestinians in Lebanon are in poverty, because of the discrimination they face by the Lebanese government.
Not that this is new news. Two years ago UNRWA came out with a report with more specifics about Palestinian poverty in Lebanon, and it mentioned that one reason was that many were forced to live in "closed" camps that were not integrated into the economy of surrounding towns, and that in itself was an indicator of likely poverty. Only one other area had that same problem - the West Bank, under the PA.
Since then, Palestinian Arab refugees from Syria have come into Lebanon, and been forced into these same overcrowded and poverty-stricken camps, unlike other refugees from Syria.
Yet this blatant discrimination against Palestinian Arabs in Lebanon is simply not mentioned by those who pretend to care about them. No calls for boycotts by rock stars, no campus demonstrations, no calls for aid.
When their suffering cannot be blamed, even indirectly, on Israel, no one really gives a damn.
The next time you see a "pro-Palestinian" demonstration, just ask them about discrimination against Palestinians in Lebanon. And put it on video.