The policies the Lebanese government is taking against Palestinians in all refugee camps have been escalating as the government approved the completion of building a wall around the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp. This means tightening the siege and intensifying tension between the Palestinians and the Lebanese.
The Palestinian refugees live in Lebanon in 12 formal refugee camps that were established between 1948-1955, where 48% of the refugees reside. The rest live in other communities that were either established during the same period or as a result of the destruction of some other refugee camps. Some refugees, though, live in Lebanese cities and villages.
The Lebanese government has passed a law to surround the Palestinian camp of Ain al-Hilweh with a wall in fulfillment of an idea that was triggered 20 years ago.
According to a source who talked to the PIC, the past years have witnessed rigorous attempts to isolate the Palestinian refugee camps, especially through the military checkpoints stationed at the entrances of the camps.
He added that the Lebanese government has prevented the entrance of building materials and furniture, under the pretext of “fighting terrorism.”
The Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are deprived of their civil and social rights, and their humanitarian conditions are exacerbating day by day, with more than 60% of unemployment in some camps. The poverty rates have also risen and the population has tripled since 1948.
Yasser Ali, a Palestinian writer and journalist, called for ending the security procedures, which badly affect the Palestinian-Lebanese relations, treating Palestinian refugees with respect, and fulfilling their social, medical, and educational needs.
It is said that the Lebanese policies aim at harassing Palestinian refugees to force them to migrate. In addition, the Lebanese government has long considered the Palestinian issue a matter of security, ignoring the humanitarian aspects that the international law states.
The source confirmed that Palestinian refugees in Lebanon have managed to remain neutral in regard to the Lebanese conflicts. Nonetheless, the Lebanese government “has met this with escalations against the refugees, represented in the wall and the barbed wires, watchtowers and checkpoints surrounding the camps.”
He explained that the decision of building the wall was suggested by Western and European parties. “There is a popular rejection of the Lebanese procedures against Palestinians,” he went on, stressing the need for collaboration between local parties and institutions to protect the refugees.
Yasser Ali expressed worries that the continuous Lebanese escalations may lead to a decision to destroy some of the camps, as the Lebanese government has previously done.
The massive destruction of Nahr al-Bared refugee camp and the displacement of most of its residents have become a nightmare for the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon who may face the same future.
(Source / 27.11.2016)