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2011: The year Lebanon Allows Palestinians Some Elementary Civil Rights?

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Unhealthy dietary habits are common among Lebanon's refugees.
Fifty-seven per cent have unhealthy dietary habits including the excessive consumption of sweets.
Sixty-eight per cent consume sweetened drinks which directly increases the burden of chronic diseases.


Chronic illnesses affects close to a third of Lebanon's Palestinian refugees.
All Palestinian households with a disabled head of household live in extreme poverty. Twenty one per cent of Lebanon's Palestinian refugees attest to experiencing depression, anxiety, or distress. Ninety five per cent of the population is without medical insurance but UNRWA, which is again being targeted for dissolution by the US Congressional Israeli lobby, does its best to provide primary and secondary health care.
100 percent of the camps and gatherings potable water is polluted.


Sixty-six per cent of the houses suffer from dampness and leakage which often results in psychological and chronic illnesses. Eight per cent of households live in shelters where the roof and/or walls are made of corrugated iron, wood or asbestos. Eight per cent live in overcrowded conditions (more than three people in one room) while as many as seven to a room is not uncommon.

Every group and political party in Lebanon has failed the Palestinian refugees-including their leadership. The best of the Palestinians are those struggling to survive in the Camps and it is their young people who will likely take the Palestinian struggle to survive and to return to Palestine to the next level if necessary.


It would take Lebanon's Parliament just two hours to fix half of the problem and to abolish the 2001 law that forbids Palestinians from owning a home. Unfortunately its author, who is currently Minister of Labor, has not altered his mindset a decade later.

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Indeed, he has just submitted to Parliament a draft law that would outlaw Christians selling any property at all in Lebanon to Muslims (read: Hezbollah supporting Shia) for the next 15 years under penalty of ten years in jail and a fine double the sale price. He has declared that such a law is "necessary in order to advance sectarian harmony" while denying that he favors building medieval walls around the 18 sects land holdings.

It would take roughly the same amount of time for Parliament to declare that Palestinians shall be allowed the full right to work. Not the mockery of the August 17, 2010 public relations feel good "cancellation of the work permit fee" gesture that likely has not and will not help one refugees secure a job, the same right that all other foreigners have.

By way of contrast to Lebanon inaction, the Palestinian's arch enemy Israel, as if to taunt Lebanon, announced this week that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer to increase the number of Palestinians from the West Bank allowed to work in Israel. Ben-Eliezer is to allocate 5,000 more work permits for Palestinians from the West Bank.

So at the beginning of 2011 the score might be said to be: 5000 Israeli work permits for Palestinians. Zero from Lebanon.

Increasingly, political analysts are concluding that Lebanon's politicians are simply not capable, given this country's virulent sectarianism and civil war memories, and despite occasional sweet words about the 1949 Universal Declaration of the Human Rights being partly authored by a Lebanese gentleman, of granting internationally mandated elementary civil rights to Palestinians. This despite the fact that those who came to Lebanon 63 years ago were forced here by Zionist ethnic cleansing.
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On the other hand, it would require of President Obama, President Ahmadinejad, the European Union or any one of a number of other heads of major powers only the time required to send the right communication to Lebanon's three key politicians to correct this now 63 year long injustice.

The UN and the international community must politely demand that Lebanon end this unacceptable discrimination against their sisters and brothers because it is no longer internationally tolerable.

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* Born and raised in Milwaukie, Oregon, USA
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* Home Address: 221 8th Street, NE, Washington DC, 20002

* Languages: English, French, Russian, some (more...)

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Were the international community to cease averting... by Franklin Lamb on Monday, Jan 10, 2011 at 5:41:37 AM