Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 18 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
General News   

Perceptions of the Syrian uprising from Shatila camp

By       (Page 1 of 3 pages)   No comments
Message Franklin P. Lamb
Become a Fan
  (13 fans)

Perceptions of the Syrian uprising from Shatila



Franklin Lamb



 Shatila Palestinian refugee camp, despite being targeted over the past six decades for numerous crimes including massacres from various sources, in many ways is representative of all the Palestinian camps in Lebanon.

 Located in South Beirut, Shatila was one of the first Palestinian refugee camps set up during the 1948 Nakba.  When the Lebanon-Palestine border was closed on May 15th 1948, a gentleman named  Abed Bisher ("Abou Kamal")  from the north-western Galilee village of Majd al-Kroom,  found himself  trapped  inside Lebanon as hundreds of his countrymen were streaming in seeking short term sanctuary.  Mr. Bisher, was in fact a mujahidine leader whose mission in Lebanon was to purchase arms for the Mufti of Jerusalem to be deployed in the scattered villages in the Galilee, then still under heavy assault from Zionist forces.

Shocked by what he was witnessing of his Palestinian neighbors squatting wherever they could find some vacant ground, often in appalling conditions, and unable to complete his original mission, Bisher focused on helping his countrymen as best he could.

His good luck included making the acquaintance of a Lebanese gentleman named, al Basha Shatila a Lebanese Sunni Muslim businessman sympathetic to the arriving refugees. Mr. Shatila allowed Bisher  the use an oblong strip of land roughly  200 by 400 meters free of charge. From the newly organized UN Agency, UNRWA, Bisher and his growing group of refugees were able to procure 20 tents and before long also milk and rice rations.

Bisher sought out refugees from his village but no refugee was refused sanctuary in "Shatila Camp" and by early 1950 nearly two dozen Palestinian refugee families were accommodated and a few months later there were 60 families and by the early 1960's more than 3000 refugees lived in and around Shatila camp. While approximately half the camp population was from Majd al_Kroom, more than 25 of the 531 Zionist ethnically cleansed villages were represented in Shatila.


The uprising in Syria has re-opened some old wounds in Shatila camp and between the Baathist Assad regime, now in its 41st year, and Lebanon's Palestinian refugees.  Today the Palestinian refugee community in Lebanon appears divided over the credibility of pledged "regime reforms" and whether more patience is warranted.

 A growing number of Palestinians, according to activists in Shatila, Burj al Barajneh, and Bedawi camps, as well as contacts with camp residents elsewhere, suggests ambivalent opinions generally but a perceptible trend shift in favor of the Syrian uprising. This is explained by some camp residents as being due to the fact that  the killing shows no signs of ending  despite global pleas this week from among others,  UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.  Yet doubts and concerns persist over the groups seen exploiting the unrest.

There is close association between Palestinians in Lebanon and Syria where since the start of the Syrian uprising, young Palestinians have been protesting against groups closely associated with the regime and tensions exploded in June when "pro-regime thugs " opened fire on a demonstration in Yarmouk camp, killing 14 refugees. In retaliation, Palestinian protesters then burned down the militia's headquarters.

 Relations between Syria and Palestinian refugees in Lebanon's 12 camps and as many "gatherings' have been complicated since the early 1970's as Syria played the Palestinian card in the international arena in competition with Yassar Arafat and was inconsistent in its attitudes and actions toward the refugees during the Lebanese civil war including participating in the 1976 massacre at the Tel al Zaatar Palestinian refugee camp.  

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Rate It | View Ratings

Franklin P. Lamb Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

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...)

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)


Has the battle for Aleppo birthed Foreign Legions preparing a Sunni-Shia endgame?

Presidents Assad and Putin have ordered their forces to again liberate "The Jewel of the Desert"

Why Obama is Declaring War on Syria

Libya's Liberation Front Organizing In The Sahel

Netanyahu to Obama on election: When we say jump, you say how high?

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend