Lebanon scatters a little chicken feed and labels it "manna from heaven"
Shatila Palestinian Refugee Camp
Part XI of a series on securing civil rights for Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon
guests in Lebanon are working with total freedom.
First of all we do not refer to them as "refugees". They are our brothers
who are suffering and in a very difficult situation that they did not
cause and they have lost their country. They sought our help in Lebanon
as brothers. You Americans really need to understand that in our
Arab, Muslim, and Christian culture, you help your brother. You share
with him your loaf of bread. You split it in half and give half to your
brother. So out of this sacred tradition, out of the long history that binds
us with our Palestinian brothers we host them in Lebanon temporarily
until they can go back to their country. But while they are here,
of course Lebanon is living through a difficult situation ourselves but
our Palestinian brothers are enjoying everything."
must not "precipitously rush into the unchartered waters of civil rights for
At 3:02 p.m. on 8/17/10 Lebanon's Parliament began to deliberate on granting basic civil rights to its Palestinian refugees and within four minutes agreed to alter article 50 Lebanon's 1964 labor law to theoretically make it easier for Palestinian refugees to obtain a work permit and a job.
Thus did the bell ring on Round One of the fight in Lebanon for elementary civil rights for Palestinians refugees.
The members of Parliament decided to do essentially nothing to meet Lebanon's legal, moral, religious, social and political obligations to her unwanted refugees. Parliament's gesture will likely not improve the lives of many, if even a handful, of the hundreds of thousands of refugees, 62 years after their expulsion from their homes and lands in Palestine.
Round Two begins today.
The morning after Parliament amended the Labor law and cancelled the work permit fee for Palestinian refugees, the main stream media including CNN, AP, Reuters, AFP among others appeared to misunderstand what had occurred. CNN: "In Lebanon, new legislation will give Palestinians full employment rights. By the CNN Wire Staff." CNN broadcast: "The body OK'd legislation giving the refugees full employment rights and social security and will allow them to work in any job."
The NYT is reported that "Lebanon passed a law on Tuesday granting Palestinian refugees here the same rights to work as other foreigners."
Some leading politicians also got it wrong. Fares Soueid, the General Coordinator for the March 14 coalition declared at his news conference:
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