Lebanese politicians continue playing the Palestinians
"do the refugees in Lebanon need a civil rights intifada?
Wavell camp, Baalbek Lebanon
The Gaza resistance to last month's Israeli aggression, and the 138 to 9 UN General Assembly vote, most people of good will might agree, are important "victories" for the nearly 11 million Palestinians ethnically cleaned from their country Palestine as a consequence of the Zionist colonial enterprise, an unsustainable remnant from the 19th century.
Sincere congratulations are no doubt much appreciated here in Lebanon's 12 refugee camps, including Jilil (Wavell) camp in the Bekaa valley-maybe the poorest the camps in Lebanon which contains the most wretched of the Palestinian refugee camps in the world.
Remarkably, a delegation of local politicians from the pro-US-Saudi March 14 alliance, every one of whom is a longtime adversary of granting Palestinians in Lebanon even the most modest civil right, visited the Gaza Strip last month "as a show of support for the Palestinian people following the latest Israeli aggression on the territory."
Lebanese Forces MP Antoine Zahra, as a delegate representing party leader, Samir Geagea, and al-Mustaqbal bloc (future movement) deputies Jamal al-Jarrah and Amine Wehbe representing parties opposed to the Hezbollah led National Lebanese Resistance, and each with a long history of anti-Palestinian activities in Lebanon, declared on arriving in Gaza that "We are here to show solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza who are facing Israeli atrocities." Al-Jarrah told LBCI TV channel. MP Zahra added, "Through our visit we want to say to all that we reject Israel's assaults and its deprivation of human rights for Palestinian refugees."
The last stop of the Lebanese delegation was at Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniya's house. Presumably aware of their anti-Palestinian careers in Lebanon, Haniya nonetheless graciously welcomed the delegation's visit, expressing that it strengthens Lebanese-Palestinian relations, LBCI reported. Meanwhile, March 14 General-Secretariat Coordinator Fares Soaid stated to al-Joumhouria newspapers that the "one-day visit is aimed at (announcing our) solidarity with the Palestinian people and committing to securing all their rights and sending a political message that defending major causes like Palestinian refugee rights is not the monopoly of any Lebanese or Islamic party." Obliquely attacking Hezbollah, which supports the Palestinian cause, Soaid declared that "The party that claims to be more patriotic than all the rest of us will find out from assured his listeners that "the structure of the March 14" delegation to Gaza as well as the entire opposition shows solidarity with the Palestinian people and their legitimate rights." Meanwhile, Lebanese MP Jamal al-Jarrah declared that: "All parliamentary blocs in Lebanon are in solidarity with the Palestinian people and their human rights case, and the Lebanese people support the Palestinian position, principles, and national rights."
MP Soaid held another news conference in case his message was not understood and he stressed that "Hezbollah should make better recalculations and stop making treason accusations against others, adding that the pro-US-Saudi opposition represents the "true conscience of Lebanese patriotism and struggle for human rights" that fits with the "nationalistic spirit of the Palestinians everywhere. The March 14 presence in Gaza is a clear message that Arab support for the steadfastness of the Palestinian people has no boundaries."
Well, truth told, maybe MP Soaid got just a little bit carried away with his "no boundaries to supporting Palestinians" statement. Because speaking with his media representative the next day, this observer was advised that the MP did not mean to imply that he or his March 14 colleagues were (after 65 years and counting) yet ready to support in Lebanon's Parliament the right to work or the right to own a home for Palestinians in Lebanon even if it was true, as this observer averred, that it would require no more than 90 minutes of Parliaments time to repeal the 2001 racist law forbidding home ownership and enacting the elementary right to work. Rights, this observer reminded the gentleman, that Soaid knows well are given to every other foreigner in Lebanon and which have been granted, by international law, (applicable obviously to Lebanon) to every other refugee on the planet, including by the Zionists brutalizing occupied Palestine. But not to Palestinians in Lebanon.
Last weekend, Alaa, a 26 year old mother of two beauties, is depressed and worries in her home in Jalil Palestinian refugee camp (Wavell) about the coming deep freeze that winter brings to the Bekaa valley and the fact that her husband, by Lebanese law, cannot work, and they have no fuel for their tiny oil heater. The family's home in Jalil camp consists of a public outdoor toilet up a steep flight of 26 stairs shared by nine families and three rooms being two horse stalls left over from the French colonial period when French General Wavell built the facility to house his colonial's troop's horses.
Two just released studies put Alaa's, and other Palestinians in Lebanon's, plight into perspective while politicians are holding media conferences extoling their support for Palestinian rights.