forbid if you are a Palestinian refugee, for you currently risk being barred,
even if your papers are complete. As I saw the young family start the
trek on foot back toward Damascus. I could not help thinking, what kind of
Arabs are these who give preference to a citizen of a country that has brought
this Arab region nearly unimaginable destruction, yet shut out their own
brothers and sisters who are fleeing death?
Every Lebanese citizen and every political party, from the anti-Palestinian Lebanese Forces, to the claimed champions of Palestinians, including Hezbollah, should immediately insist that the Lebanese government rescind, without delay, its decision to bar Palestinians from Syria from entering Lebanon. And while they are at it, General Security should stop hounding and threatening with arrest Palestinian refugees from Syria, who came to Lebanon during the last nearly 29 months and who cannot come up with the $200 fee to extend their expired visas.
This would require less than an hour to accomplish, and once it is done, there is another task that this observer submits is urgently needed: for the Lebanese President and the Prime Minister to issue, toute de suite, an emergency decree granting the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon the elementary right to work and to own a home. If and when Parliament stops posturing politically and actually does some of the work for the Lebanese people that they are paid huge sums to carry out, it can take 90 minutes to enact these basic civil rights into law. And Lebanon will benefit enormously in terms of growth of economy, which is taking a nose-dive resulting from the Syrian crisis and the now-collapsed summer tourism.
It is true that the Lebanese government is struggling to meet the needs of the growing refugee population, but as Joe Stork, HRW deputy Middle East director and friend of the late American Journalist Janet Lee Stevens, has pointed out, shutting them out is no answer.
is egregious and illegal for a country to deny safe haven to any refugee
fleeing probable death. It is doubly egregious for Lebanon to bar devoted
Muslims sanctuary during the Holy month of Ramadan.