Arab Apartheid Against Palestinians
The plight of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and other Arab countries has received little attention from the mainstream media in the West. Lebanon's apartheid laws deny Palestinians access to the majority of white collar positions in areas such as banking, medicine, management, law and education. Though born and raised in the country, they are denied political, economic and social rights.
The Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon are considered the worst in the region in terms of poverty, health, education and living conditions, according to a report published this week by the American Near East Refugee Aid [ANERA], one of the largest American not-for-profit organizations working in the Middle East.
This does not mean, of course, that Palestinians living in refugee camps in Jordan and Syria or other Arab countries are happy. But when it comes to Lebanon, the living conditions of the Palestinians are appalling.
The ANERA report coincided with news about mounting tensions between Palestinian residents of refugee camps in Lebanon and the Lebanese army.
The tensions reached their peak last week when Lebanese soldiers shot and killed a young Palestinian man in Nahr El Bared refugee camp. Later Lebanese soldiers prevented residents from going to the cemetery to attend the funeral.
In 2007, the Lebanese army destroyed most of the camp's houses during fighting with militiamen belonging to Palestinian armed groups and radical Islamic groups.
Two-thirds of the camp's 36,000 residents fled the fighting and found shelter in surrounding fields and valleys. Many set up new homes in the nearby Baddawi refugee camp.
Since 2007, the Lebanese army has imposed a strict siege on the camp: residents are allowed to enter and leave only after obtaining permission from Lebanese security authorities. According to the Palestinian residents, they have since been living in a ghetto.
The Lebanese authorities have also banned the residents from rebuilding the houses that were destroyed or damaged in 2007.
Palestinians are convinced that Lebanon has been trying to get rid of them for many years. Lebanon's apartheid laws deny Palestinians access to the majority of white collar positions in areas such as banking, medicine, management, law and education.
Like many Arab countries, Lebanon has always been treating Palestinians as third-class citizens. Nearly half a million Palestinians live in Lebanon's 12 camps. Though born and raised in the country, they are denied political, economic and social rights.
Palestinians cannot attend Lebanese public schools or own property. They do not have access to national health services or the social security system. Checkpoints restricting access to most of the camps, according to the ANERA report, thwart trade and commerce with neighboring counties.
"The refugees live in overcrowded camps and have to deal with discrimination, isolation and social exclusion," the report states. "The refugees often refer to themselves as 'forgotten people' and feel they are living in a hostile environment where their basic human rights are not represented or protected."
The plight of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and other Arab countries has received little attention in the mainstream media in the West. Although many international aid organizations have been working to assist the Palestinians in the Arab world, Western journalists often turn a blind eye to the misery of these refugees.
The unconscionable condition of the Palestinians in the Arab world will end the day the Arab governments and Palestinian leaders stop lying to them and confront them with reality, namely that they need to get along with their lives and secure a better future for their children. Arab and Palestinian leaders, meanwhile, continue to deceive these people by promising them that if they wait a little longer they will one day "return to the homeland."
Comment on this item
by Soeren Kern
"My son and I love life with the beheaders." — British jihadist Sally Jones.
Mujahidah Bint Usama published pictures of herself on Twitter holding a severed head while wearing a white doctor's jacket; alongside it, the message: "Dream job, a terrorist doc."
British female jihadists are now in charge of guarding as many as 3,000 non-Muslim Iraqi women and girls held captive as sex slaves.
"The British women are some of the most zealous in imposing the IS laws in the region. I believe that's why at least four of them have been chosen to join the women police force." — British terrorism analyst Melanie Smith.
by Khaled Abu Toameh
"Armed robbery in broad daylight." — Palestinians, after Hamas "seized" $750,000 from Gaza bank.
Fatah accused Hamas of "squandering" $700 million of financial aid earmarked for the Palestinian victims of war. Fatah wants to ensure that the millions of dollars intended for the Gaza Strip will pass through its hands and not end up in Hamas's bank accounts. Relying on Fatah in this regard is like asking a cat to guard the milk.
The head of the Palestinian Authority's Anti-Corruption Commission revealed that his group has retrieved $70 million of public funds fund embezzled by Palestinian officials. Arab and Western donors need to make sure that their money does not end up (once again) in the wrong hands. Without a proper mechanism of accountability and transparency, hundreds of millions of dollars are likely to find their way into the bank accounts of both Hamas and Fatah leaders.
by Mudar Zahran
"If Hamas does not like you for any reason all they have to do now is say you are a Mossad agent and kill you." — A., a Fatah member in Gaza.
"Hamas wanted us butchered so it could win the media war against Israel showing our dead children on TV and then get money from Qatar." — T., former Hamas Ministry officer.
"They would fire rockets and then run away quickly, leaving us to face Israeli bombs for what they did." — D., Gazan journalist.
"Hamas imposed a curfew: anyone walking out in the street was shot. That way people had to stay in their homes, even if they were about to get bombed. Hamas held the whole Gazan population as a human shield." — K., graduate student
"The Israeli army allows supplies to come in and Hamas steals them. It seems even the Israelis care for us more than Hamas." — E., first-aid volunteer.
"We are under Hamas occupation, and if you ask most of us, we would rather be under Israeli occupation… We miss the days when we were able to work inside Israel and make good money. We miss the security and calm Israel provided when it was here." — S., graduate of an American university, former Hamas sympathizer.
by Ben Cohen
Now, with the Islamic State's self-proclaimed caliphate having captured key oil wells in the Middle East this year, foreign oil has become an even more lethal financial weapon-of-choice for those seeking to destroy democracy and further escalate the War on Terror.
That President Barack Obama failed even to mention oil as a critical factor in the war against IS during his speech to the nation on September 10, is an omission both revealing and dangerous in terms of how his administration wants to depict the stakes involved in this latest confrontation with the jihadis.
by Lawrence A. Franklin
One Pakistani recruiter of child suicide bombers describes these children as "tools provided by God."
Another Muslim cleric in a madrassa [Islamic boys' school] describes child suicide bombers as "a gift from Allah that we have an unlimited number willing to be sacrificed to teach Americans a lesson."
Using children as suicide bombers will stop when... they stop "condoning the killing of innocents."