Friday, June 09, 2023

Israeli Arab news site Arab48 has an article that discusses the plight of Palestinians in Lebanon and why they risk their lives to take dangerous boat trips to Europe.

Outside of rare NGO articles and articles by Palestinians in some maverick Lebanese outlets, it is the first Arabic article I've seen that calls out Lebanon's bigotry against Palestinians instead of pretending that they are friends.

The Palestinian camps in Lebanon have been witnessing a continuous and silent migration for decades, which intensified in the last decade.
Since 1948, the Palestinians of the camps in Lebanon have been suffering from a policy of isolation and deprivation, due to the racism of the sectarian political system, whose refusal to “settle” the Palestinians ...means keeping them in isolation and deprivation, blocking them from practicing any profession or activity in the country, until the Palestinians find another place to turn to other than Lebanon. In other words, the refusal to settle the Palestinians in Lebanon does not correspond to their right of return to Palestine, but rather a lack of welcome.

It is true that the position on the issue of Palestine and the Palestinians is divergent and contradictory between the Lebanese political forces. The position of Hezbollah and the left cannot be compared to the position of the Lebanese Forces and the right, for example. However, both of them are partners in producing the same system, and the same "sectarian political" system, which sees any attempt to integrate the Palestinians into Lebanese public affairs as a breach of what Lebanon ridiculously calls its "delicate balance." Considering that the settlement of the Palestinians may make a certain Lebanese sect prevail over the rest of the other sects in terms of influence and number.  Lebanon settled some Palestinians immediately after they fled to it in 1948, but it was a limited settlement, limited to Christian Palestinians, mostly because of their wealth, while the vast majority of refugees succumbed to isolation and deprivation.

Lebanon did not ratify the 1951 Geneva Convention on Refugees, nor its 1967 Protocol, which explains its refusal to grant refugee status or permanent residency to refugees. Although this does not apply to Palestinian refugees due to the specificity of their status, the Lebanese state has accepted Palestinian refugees and called them "displaced", in order to evade its responsibilities towards them.

In general, the conditions of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon has remained dire, even in light of the periods of Lebanon's stability and prosperity. Emigration was taking place in full swing, since after the Nakba. This is not to mention the periods of civil-sectarian strife in Lebanon, and the Israeli invasion of it in 1982, during which the Palestinians paid a heavy price in terms of massacres, displacement, deportation and uprooting. What do we think of Lebanon today, as a collapsed and plundered country at the level of the state and the regime? Who cares about the Palestinians and their tragedy, if Lebanon does not care about the Lebanese themselves?

So, the catastrophe of asylum in itself, and then the tragedy of the Palestinian camp with the sectarianism of the Lebanese regime, and the racism of its society, with its decades of isolation and deprivation, is from the Lebanese side. On the other hand, the Palestinian leadership and the PLO abandoned the refugees, for whom the Palestinian cause is no longer concerned or intended, even though the refugees are the  first line of definition of the Palestinian cause. In addition to this, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees UNRWA has gradually retreated in the last two decades from providing support, aid, and funding to refugee camps.

The overwhelming majority of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon possess only a Lebanese travel document, and only a few of them obtained a passport issued by the Palestinian Authority. This closes the doors of regular immigration to refugees, leaving their only hope at sea! Is there hope in the sea?
The rest of the article describes the dangers of taking a sea voyage, and how even landing in Cyprus or Greece doesn't mean their asylum would be accepted - because Lebanon is considered a "safe 'country and Palestinians are not officially persecuted there.

Notice also that the article blames the Palestinian leadership for abandoning Lebanon. They could provide passports to ease their exodus. But they refuse to.

Such an honest Arabic article could only be written in Israel. Arab media outlets would never want to antagonize a fellow Arab state and upset the narrative of eventual Palestinian "return" from Lebanon. Palestinians in Europe or North America are too invested in ensuring that everything they publish blames Israel exclusively for all their problems.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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