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Lebanon escalates its denial of civil rights for Palestinian Refugees

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Lebanon escalates its denial of civil rights for Palestinian Refugees

Franklin Lamb

Ain el Hilweh Palestinian camp, Lebanon

In Lebanon today, Palestinians are being threatened by the government that ISIS (Daesh) and Al Nursa are plotting to take over Ain el Helweh and the other 11 camps.

Palestinian factions and the residents of the Ain el Hilweh Palestinian camp in Saida Lebanon know very well that militant jihadist groups including ISIS (Daesh) and Al Nusra are now deeply implanted in their midst and that both are working to seize control of their camp as well as Burj el-Barajneh , 1948, El Buss , 1949 Nahr al-Bared 1949, Shatila , 1948, Wavel 1952, Mar Elias, 1954, Mieh Mieh , 1955, Beddawi 1955, Burj el-Shemali1956, Dbayeh and, Rashidieh 1963.

One jihadist activist with whom this observer has had long and sometimes contentious discussions is Imad Yassine of ISIS, including separate discussions with a representative of the pro Nusra Front group and its many camps allies led by Haitham al Shaabi.

The same "government" that systematically deprives Palestinian refugees in Lebanon of virtually all internationally mandated civil rights described below is today (7/14/2015) shrieking a la Chicken Little that the sky is falling and that "the terrorists are trying to turn the camps into a time bomb that might explode any moment." Politicians here are also threatening that "it will lead to severe repercussions for the camp's residents, who will be the first casualty of the plots of these groups." The political establishment wails : "It is totally unacceptable to turn Ain el Hilweh and other camps into hubs for terrorism that might spread to blow up entire Lebanon."

This observer does not know of one ten year old Palestinian refugee who takes seriously these hysterics. Yet it is likely that if Lebanon continues to deprive Palestinian refugees of internationally mandated civil rights that the camps will seek redress elsewhere. And they will have the support of most people of goodwill.

Nearly seven decades after the 1948 Nakba, Lebanon is increasingly depriving Palestinian refugees of elementary, internationally guaranteed civil rights. And at an accelerating pace. Unfortunately, few if any of its gentrifying and currently intensely sectarianized political class, several of whom this observer has recently interviewed or communicated with, exhibit serious interest in bucking this trend.

In addition to Palestinian refugees being denied the elementary civil right to work and to own a home, the only refugees on earth so deprived, Lebanon in massive violation of international humanitarian law, is now blocking even more civil rights.

Shatila Palestinian camp, Beirut. Photo: fplamb

The growing list of violations of Palestinian civil rights in Lebanon includes, but is not limited to, the following.

Increased discrimination against Palestinian refugee women in Lebanon

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Since 2013, Professor Franklin P. Lamb has traveled extensively throughout Syria. His primary focus has been to document, photograph, research and hopefully help preserve the vast and irreplaceable archaeological sites and artifacts in (more...)

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