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Palestinians in Lebanon, victims of the disguised racism
By: Yusef Ahmad
January 19, 2017
 

The ministerial statement of the new Lebanese government negligence to the human rights of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon file is a new act of prejudice against them.

Everything changes, but the life of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, who folds every year a new page of injustice, oppression and deprivation in the refugee camps in Lebanon.

By the end of this year, the Palestinian refugees welcomed the completion of the presidential elections in Lebanon, and what came after them, particularly, the formation of the new Lebanese government, with a desire that this stability would be reflected positively on their economic and social lives, especially that changing those conditions, requires an amendment and a change in the laws which are supposed to be taken by the Lebanese parliament and official institutions.

Over the past years, the Palestinians did all what they could toward the official authorities, political forces and the Lebanese parliamentary blocs, trying to explain the negative consequences of the continuation of the laws that deprive the Palestinian refugees from their basic human and social rights.

Some political forces were openly refusing to grant those rights, arguing that granting these rights, leads to the resettlement, and there were many other flimsy excuses that carried in their backgrounds a racist and inhumane look towards the Palestinians.

The other forces, which are considered on the axis of solidarity with the Palestinian people, were openly supporting the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people, but when the matter was reaching to the file the human rights, the majority of these forces except for the little ones, they offer a bargain and give payoffs to opposition forces and forget their positions in favor of the Palestinian people, miss and do the role of the masses in the Lebanese parliament the interests of local alliances, and a Palestinian refugee in the end is a victim of these adjustments and racist attitudes disguised in different forms.

In 2010, the Lebanese parliamentarians were engaged to debate some of the amendments to the laws that deprive the Palestinians from the right to work and other rights, the session of the parliament was held on 17.08.2010, it was the first time that a formal session of the Parliament to discuss the issue of the rights of Palestinians in Lebanon since 1948, and it approved some legal amendments, which are limited modifications came as a settlement between the Lebanese political and sectarian parties. There were a simple amendment to Article 59 of the Labor Law and another amendment to Article 9 of the Social Security Law, the rest of the rights were excluded, and one of them was the right to own a property.

It was assumed that this step to form an introduction to liberate the right to work, for the workers and professionals, from all the conditions that are imposed on the foreigners, which is considered a valid contribution to the improvement of the economic and social conditions of the refugees. But to keep the discriminatory situation, in terms of the requirement to obtain a work permit or for the exclusion of the Palestinian professionals from right to work, is a negative indicator, as there are no future changes in the field of the work for the Palestinians.

More than six years have passed since this parliamentary session, the Palestinians thought that the issue of the rights began to take its positive path, they were optimistic with the possibility of opening the file completely, including re-straightening things and putting them on the right track.

However, the realistic reading of the Lebanese scene and its dealing with the Palestinian situation, confirms that there is a negative deterioration in the relationship between the Lebanese concerned institutions and the Palestinians, and their human and social rights, what confirms the validity of the concerns which were expressed by the Palestinians in terms of their lack of confidence that there is a change in the attitudes towards the Palestinian in Lebanon.

Despite all this injustice, the Palestinians continued their effort and their movements in order to change this negative perception, and presented a positive model in their dealings with the Lebanese internal and political crisis over the past years, and the Palestinian people has always aimed to be a stability element in the country, despite all the pressures that it was exposed to, in order to put it in the context of the internal conflict and the political alignments in Lebanon over the past years.

The new page of the injustice and unfairness, came in the negligence of the ministerial statement of the Lebanese new government to any reference to the human rights of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon file, and it only talked about the security situation and calling the countries and the international organizations to fund UNRWA and the completion of financing the reconstruction of Al Bared camp. The responsibility of the Lebanese government toward the Palestinians and its role in alleviating their suffering through the amendment of the Lebanese unjust laws was ignored too.

If this is the beginning of the new government and its way of dealing with the Palestinian presence, this indicates a lack of will and positive intent and seriousness in opening a new page in the Lebanese-Palestinian relations, also it sends a message that the Lebanese state is not interested in improving the situations of the Palestinians in the camps. Thus, such a move would increase the state of marginalization of the Palestinians, who have always worked to organize their relationships with the Lebanese state.

The entrance to fortify the Palestinian situation and the camps is form the economic and social gate in the framework of strengthening the position of the Palestinians who are committed to their right of return, in accordance with UN Resolution 194 and with their identity to cut the road in front of all those who seek to mess up with the security and stability of the Palestinian and Lebanese peoples.

Finally, it must be said that the supporters of the Palestinian people, especially those who are represented in the Lebanese parliament, are before a new test, and they must take their responsibilities toward the Palestinians, as the Palestinian people is not interested with the verbal positions, which miss their echoes within the legislative institutions, and to the opposition forces we say: we invite to a mutual Lebanese Palestinian dialogue, where all the files are placed on the table, and we contribute together to remove the concerns, let's start positively, on the basis of the mutual trust and the common understanding of the reality and mutual benefit, and the challenges and how to face them.

 
Notes:
Yusef Ahmad is a member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Front
Translated by : Ibrahim Motlaq & Rawan Albash
 

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