Lebanon greets the Special Rapporteur for Palestine with an ear full
The United Nations Special Rapporteur for Palestine, Professor Richard Falk, came to Lebanon last week on an unofficial visit to survey opinion while fact finding the condition in Palestinian refugee's camps.
Professor Emeritus at Princeton University and Special UN Rapporteur for Palestine, Richard Falk
It was the Professors first visit to Lebanon since the fateful summer of 1982. Back then, en route by sea to Beirut, which was under Israeli siege and blockade, Falk was Vice-Chair of the Sean McBride Commission of Inquiry into Israeli crimes against Lebanon. Mid-way between Cyprus and Lebanon, the Zionist navy, in a blatant act of piracy on the high seas, intercepted, circled and demanded the passenger list from the vessel. Eventually, under reported American pressure via US Envoy Morris Draper's telephoned profanity to Tel Aviv, the pirates allowed Falk's delegation to disembark at the port of Jounieh, just north of Beirut. Draper, who like so many US diplomats, claims he finally "saw the light after retiring", told this observer that "I never swore so much in my life as I did at those SOBS during that summer of 1982 and after I learned the details of Ariel Sharon's choreography of the Sabra-Shatila massacre!" Ambassador Draper added, "The world will never know the extent of Israeli crimes committed against Lebanon and its refugees until Washington threatens to cut off all aid until Tel Aviv opens up its archives on this period."
Professor Falk, as he mentioned during several events here, including a first-rate conference on the status of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and their struggle for the most elementary civil rights to work and to own a home, organized by the Institute of Palestine Studies, came to Lebanon not to offer counsel to Lebanon's sects or even to the Palestinians. (The IPS, ( http://www.palestine-studies.org ) founded in 1969, is considered by this observer and many others, as the most reliable and authoritative source of information on Palestinian affairs and the Arab-Israel conflict.)
Falk came to listen and to learn. He did both. He listened intently to each speaker, scribing hurried notes regarding the current conditions of Palestinian refugee, including education and health status, in Lebanon's 12 camps and two dozen "gatherings," reports that were presented by several academics and NGO's based here.
( photo: IPS 4/ 28//2013 ) Professor Falk got an ear full from Lebanese based advocates for the elementary Palestinian refugee Right to Work and to own a home. Rights that are accorded every other refugee in every country in the world including Zionist occupied Palestine. Rights that are given to every citizen from any country as soon as they clear immigration. Dr. Falk was advised that all that is required is that those who claim to be the forces of Resistance use their majority power in Parliament and take 90 minutes to repeal the racist 2001 law ( 20 minutes) and grant the right to work for Palestinians ( 70 minutes) who were forced into Lebanon 65 years ago this month.