T O P I C
STORY OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE
132 BCE After the Bar Kokhba revolt, Jewish communities are established in Lebanon.
1071 Jewish Academy built in Tyre.
1911 Immigration of Jews from Greece, Syria, Iraq and Turkey to Beirut. Nearly 5,000 Jews total. The Jews play a key role in the establishment of Lebanon as an independent state.
1943 Lebanon gains independence from France on November 22, 1943
1948 Lebanon populated by some 5,000 Jews.
1958 Civil War causes many Lebanese Jews to leave for Europe or the United States.
1971 Secretary General of Lebanese Jewish Community is kidnapped by Syrians, and imprisoned in Damascus with other Syrian Jews.
1975 Muslim-Christian Civil War damages many Jewish homes, business and synagogues. Most of the remaining 1,800 Lebanese Jews emigrate out of fear of the growing Syrian presence.
1982 During Israeli invasion 11 Jewish leaders are captured and killed by Islamist radicals.
1990s Due to the political climate, Jews are unable to practice religion openly.
2005 Less than 50 Jews remain in Lebanon.
2006 Lebanon War (Wikipedia) ((Since then there have been only isolated incidents.)
On 12 July 2006, in an incident known as Zar'it-Shtula incident, the Hezbollah initiated diversionary rocket attacks on Israeli military positions near the coast and near the Israeli border village of Zar'it, while another Hezbollah group crossed from Lebanon into Israel and ambushed two Israeli Army vehicles, killing three Israeli soldiers and seizing two.
Hezbollah promptly demanded the release of Lebanese prisoners held by Israel, including Samir Kuntar and an alleged surviving perpetrator of the Coastal Road massacre, in exchange for the release of the captured soldiers.
Heavy fire between the sides was exchanged across the length of the Blue Line, with Hezbollah targeting IDF positions near Israeli towns.
Thus began the 2006 Lebanon War. Israel responded with massive airstrikes and artillery fire on targets throughout Lebanon, an air and naval blockade, and a ground invasion of southern Lebanon. In Lebanon the conflict killed over 1,100 people, including combatants, severely damaged infrastructure, and displaced about one million people. Israel suffered 42 civilian deaths as a result of prolonged rocket attacks being launched into northern Israel causing the displacement of half a million Israelis. Normal life across much of Lebanon and northern Israel was disrupted, in addition to the deaths in combat.
A United Nations-brokered ceasefire went into effect on 14 August 2006. The blockade was lifted on 8 September.
As of December 2007, Hezbollah had not disarmed, and continued to recruit armed fighters, with a focus on influencing anti-Government protests in Lebanon.
2008 Restoration of the Maghen Abraham synagogue begins.
Alain Farhi, 15 -18 July 2012 (GO TO SITE FOR DETAILED RECORDS)
The country we know today as Lebanon was carved out of the Greater Syria, a country created following the fall of the Ottoman Empire after World War II and put under a French Mandate.
During the Ottoman Empire and prior to 19th century, the area known as Balad El Cham extended from Turkey to the Gulf of Akaba. Around 1834, with the first construction of roads following the invasion of Ibrahim Pasha’s armies of Akko, namely the roads from Beirut to Damascus, from Damascus to Jerusalem and from Jerusalem to Jaffa, the Ottoman Empire created three main provinces (wilayats): Mount Lebanon with the Mediterranean Coast from Akko to Turkey (with Beirut as capital), Syria from Aleppo to the Red Sea on the west side of the Jordan river (capital Damascus) and Palestine (capital Jerusalem).
In 1920, the Greater Syria under the French was split again into Lebanon (something referred to “Le Grand Liban”) and Syria; and Lebanon achieved its independence in 1943.
Lebanon was originally a part of an area called Phoenicia in the Bible and in older sources. Its capital was Tyr that was linked to a small university town the Romans called Beryte or Beritus. Jewish prisoners were concentrated there after the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Second Temple.
Kirtsen Shultz, a historian at the London School of Economics, claimed in her book “The Jews of Lebanon” that the first Jews came to Tyr around 1000 BCE. Jewish residents were first recorded there during the time of King Solomon, when it is thought that Jews were involved in selling cedar for the construction of the Temple in Jerusalem. However, it is more likely, as recorded in the Bible, that these trees were sold by Hiram, King of Srour (Tyr) without any Jewish middlemen. (Source: St Takla Coptic Bible: http://st-takla.org/Full-Free-Coptic-Books/FreeCopticBooks-002-Holy-Arabic-Bible-Dictionary/06_H/H_247.html).
Little is known about the history of Jews in the area subsequent to that first dispersion, except for some ancient tombstones found in the port area of Saida (Sidon). (Source: Ferdinand “Fred” Anzarouth). Saida and Tripoli were the main commercial centers of the Mediterranean coastline.
In 1173 Saladin expelled the non-Muslim from Jerusalem and Safed. In that same year, Benjamin de Tudela, travelling from Zaragoza to Jerusalem (1165 to 1173) reported that there were about 50 Jews in Saida, mostly working in the dyeing of threads and textiles.
A census, conducted for the Ottoman authorities by Nabil Khalife in 1519, reported the presence of 19 Jews in Beirut, probably having fled from the plague that ravaged Jerusalem in about 1514.
There is a reference in the Jewish Encyclopedia of 1905 to 5 Iraqi Jews who had settled in Beirut. They were from the Levy family and lived near Saint Elie Catholic Church and the Assaf Mosque. In 1807 they built a synagogue named Mesguad Ladek (demolished in 1930). Many Ottoman immigrants moved into the same area that became known as Haret el Yahoud (the Jewish Quarter).
At the beginning of the 19th century (ca 1832), the population of Beirut included 400 Europeans from Italy, France and Austria, settled there for trading reasons. None of them were Jewish. (Source Zeidan)
Over the years, Jews from Akko (1809), Greece (1821-30), Egypt, North Africa (1837), Aleppo and Damascus (1900-1948), Iraq and Iran (1900-1955), and Ashkenazim from Europe (1833,), also settled in the Lebanon.
The port of Beirut became important after the decline of Akko in the 19th century. (Thomas Philipp, ACRE. The Rise and Fall of a Palestinian City, 1730-1831 , Columbia University Press, New York, 2002).
In June 1860, following civil unrest and rioting between the Christian and Druze population in the town of Deir El Kamar, Barook and Hasbaya, the Jewish families from these cities moved to Aleh and Damascus. Among them the Zalt, Dahan, Khabieh and Zeitoune families. Those from Hasbaya became known as Hasbani.
In around 1869, one of the Picciotto families (wealthy traders and consuls in Aleppo) emigrated from Aleppo and built a mansion for themselves in Wadi Abou Jamil, close to Beirut. This became the new Jewish Quarter of Beirut.
By 1940, most of the residential houses of Haret el Yahoud had been converted for commercial use as their owners moved to Abou Wadi Jamil. Haret El Yahoud was destroyed in the Civil War of 1976.
The scale of the immigration into Lebanon can be seen from the Montefiore censuses of 1846-1861-1884-1885-1889-1893-1895.
Jews lived in the following cities: Beirut, Saida. Tripoli, Deir el Kamar, Barouk, Hasbaya, Tyr, Aley and Zahlé. After the construction of the Beirut-Damascus railroad in August 1895, Aley became a popular weekend destination for the Jews of Beirut.
By the 20th century, the Jewish communities of the following towns had vanished due to emigration to the larger cities – Baalbek, Deir el Kamar, Ramiche, Mokhtara, Hasbaya and Tyr (where Jewish emigrants from North Africa bound for Safed settled in 1834 following the devastation of Safed in an earthquake). The 20 families of Hasbaya left the town after riots in 1860. Ramiche had only one remaining family - the Grunbergs who owned a cheese factory there until 1911.
LEBANESE 1932 CENSUS
An official census was conducted in 1932, when many Jews from Damascus claimed to be Lebanese just to get recorded in the civil records. The Census recorded only 3,531 Jews in just 5 cities:
Deir el Kamar 7
Al-Monitor, Ash Gallagher, May 18, 2015
Lebanon's Last Synagogue
The Maghen Abraham Synagogue in Beirut in 2004. NYC2TLV/Wikicommons
BEIRUT — Tucked away in Wadi Abu Jamil, a neighborhood near downtown Beirut, is the only standing Jewish synagogue in Lebanon, and its renovation is almost finished.
The Maghen Abraham Synagogue, built in 1925, was abandoned and closed down a year after the start of Lebanon's civil war in 1976. A few years later, in 1982, the synagogue was hit by Israeli shrapnel during a bombardment of the Palestinians in the synagogue's neighborhood.
The renovations will revive a symbol of the scattered Jews. At one time, over 12,000 Jews lived in Lebanon, but by 1970 there were only 2,000, and even more left during the war.
Al-Monitor was given rare access to the synagogue, where no photos were allowed for security concerns. The entrance bears a sign in Hebrew with its name, held up by columns. Inside, wooden chairs covered in bubble wrap are laid out on the stone floor. In the center of the room, a small marble podium stands where the Jewish scriptures, the Torah, will be read.
A scaffold blocks a small stage at the back of the room, where a small ornamental closet waits to store the Torah scrolls again. A Star of David adorns the wall as a reminder of whom the synagogue represents.
Only about 200 Jewish believers remain in Lebanon. Weary of media attention, they were not willing to respond to Al-Monitor's inquiries. But Bassem al-Hout, a Muslim lawyer who represents their interests, told Al-Monitor that even though the synagogue renovations are nearly finished, security in the country is not high enough yet for it to reopen.
"We are waiting for the struggle to end," he said, referring to the regional conflicts spilling into Lebanon from Syria and Iraq. "The region is on fire." Hout stated that when the synagogue is opened, Jews and supporters from around the world will be invited for a dedication ceremony.
For now, the Jewish community within Lebanon's borders practices its faith in the privacy of home. Hout explained, "They are afraid of a reaction by individuals," who do not understand their religion is not synonymous with the State of Israel.
Certainly, Hezbollah's refusal to recognize the State of Israel has not helped, nor has a series of conflicts at Lebanon's southern border. But spokesman Hussain Rahal was quoted back in 2008 as saying, "We respect the Jewish religion just like we do Christianity … we have an issue with Israel's occupation of land."
The Lebanese government and the Israelis are officially considered enemy states after nearly 70 years of complicated border relations and war. Lebanese citizens are prohibited from speaking to Israelis, though there is no law against speaking to the Lebanese Jewish population.
LEBANESE JEWS WERE INDEED TARGETED
Financial Times, Lyn Julius, 2016,
HARIF — UK Association of Jews from the Middle East and North Africa, London SW5, UK
Sir, Massoud A Derhally ( Letters, April 8) perpetuates the fiction that Lebanese Jews left as a result of sectarian strife. In 1948 Jews were arrested and interned as Zionist spies. Rioting and antisemitic incidents such as the 1950 bombing of the Beirut Alliance Israelite school, killing the principal, occurred throughout the 1950s and 1960s, culminating in the flight, in the wake of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, of 5,800 Jews out of 6,000. Hizbollah later kidnapped and executed 10 Jews.
Although the Jewish community — which dates back, not to the Spanish Inquisition, but to 1,000 years before Islam — was one of 18 whose “rights” were protected under the Constitution, Jewish civil servants, and even Jewish soldiers who had fought for Lebanon, were dismissed. Jewish schools and synagogues were requisitioned to house Palestinian refugees.
The community did enjoy a temporary spike when Jews fled Syria and Iraq in the 1950s, but these Jews were denied Lebanese citizenship. By any definition, this is today an extinct community. The restored Maghen Abraham synagogue in Beirut, no more than a memorial to the demise of Lebanese pluralism, has yet to open. The few remaining Jews are too terrified to self-identify.
Some 800,000 Jews were driven from Arab countries: it is disturbing that their history is being sanitised in order to absolve Arab countries from the crime of “ethnic cleansing”.
Yes indeed, Mr Derhally — Jews were specifically targeted.
PALESTINIANS IN LEBANON: 'IT'S LIKE LIVING IN A PRISON'
Trump's controversial Jerusalem decision
has compounded the misery of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.
Al Jazeera Lisa Khoury, 16 Dec 2017
Hassan Salem, 12, works at a mechanic's shop seven days a week, 10 hours a day, to help his family survive [Lisa Khoury/Al Jazeera]
Beddawi, Lebanon - Mahmoud Mashwra was 12 when he left school to sell candy on the street.
Mashwra, whose family fled Israeli oppression in the Palestinian territories years ago in hopes of a better life in Lebanon, instead found a dismal economy, international aid shortages and discrimination against Palestinians. He began working full-time to help his family survive.
"I thought, I'll go back to school when I go back to Palestine," Mashwra, now 16, told Al Jazeera.
But that hope has dimmed in the wake of US President Donald Trump's statement this month recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Palestinians view East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, and the US proclamation - despite being roundly condemned by the international community - has dealt a blow to the estimated 280,000 Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon, many of whom hope to one day return home to Palestine.
STRUGGLING TO SURVIVE
Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are treated as second-class residents, restricted from working in most fields, banned from owning property, forced to live in run-down camps and barred from formal education.
Mohamad Jabbar makes $10 a day at his butcher shop, just a tenth of what he could earn if Lebanese authorities allowed him to operate outside the military-guarded camp in Beddawi.
"It's like living in a prison," Jabbar said. "The government controls where I live and where I work."
Palestinians cannot own businesses in Lebanon and are banned from most decent-paying professions, including medicine and law. An estimated two-thirds live in poverty. The government will not give citizenship rights to Palestinian refugees, for fear it could make them stay forever.
"This is a cruel and false hypothesis," Bassam Khawaja, a Beirut-based spokesperson for Human Rights Watch, told Al Jazeera. "Nothing prevents Lebanon from respecting Palestinians' basic human rights while withholding permanent residency or citizenship. But instead, generations have grown up in limbo, without basic protections."
Mohamad Jabbar makes as little as $10 a day at his butcher shop, just a tenth of what he could earn if Palestinians were allowed to open businesses outside camps [Lisa Khoury/Al Jazeera]
Today, Palestinians are competing with nearly two million Syrian refugees in Lebanon for jobs and aid.
"The vast majority of international humanitarian aid coming into Lebanon is focused on the Syrian refugee crisis, which means we are overlooking the long-standing human rights violations that Palestinians have faced here for decades," Khawaja said.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) deals with aid for Palestinians, while the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) covers Syrians - and the difference in the aid provided is stark. UNHCR gives 150,000 Syrians in Lebanon $175 a month per family; UNRWA, however, can only give 61,000 Palestinians $10 for each family member every three months, spokespersons told Al Jazeera. Both agencies say they target whoever is considered the most vulnerable.
Unlike Lebanese citizens, Palestinians cannot obtain free treatment at hospitals. They are also barred from most public schools. UNRWA has opened 67 schools and 27 clinics in Lebanon, but the clinics are only for general check-ups, while refugees with serious illnesses, such as cancer, must seek help from other NGOs.
RIPPED FROM CHILDHOOD
Twelve-year-old Hassan Salem is covered in grease after finishing a 10-hour shift at the local mechanic's shop, as he does every day. At the end of the week, he will get $3.33, all of which goes to his family.
"Of course I want to send my son to school," his mother, Lena Deeb, told Al Jazeera. "But I can't. If he doesn't work, we won't eat."
Nearly 20 percent Palestinians between the ages of six and 15 - and 30 percent of those aged 16 to 18 - are out of school in Lebanon, often because they are forced to work when their parents cannot. More than 30 percent of Palestinians leave school due to low achievement.
"The schools are so bad, I didn't see a point in going any more," said Ali, a 17-year-old Palestinian refugee who asked to withhold his last name. "I was 14 when I left, and I could barely read or write."
Nineteen-year-old Mahmoud Mustafa dropped out three years ago. Asked what his dream job is, he laughs: "We're refugees, we can't dream here. We're just worried about living today."
'Death to America'
Rami Saaf becomes anxious when he is at work - not because he may have to borrow food from his neighbours again to feed his family, but because his kids could be electrocuting themselves at home.
The 34-year-old lives in the Beddawi camp, where raw sewage and water leak onto wires outside his front door. The last time his nine-year-old son touched a wire, he landed in hospital.
Lebanon has 12 refugee camps to house the generations of Palestinians pushed from their homes after the 1948 founding of Israel. Many lack basic services, such as electricity, sewage and waste disposal networks. Seventy-eight percent of households complain of dampness, 62 percent suffer from water leakage, and 52 percent have poor ventilation, according to a UNRWA study.
But this camp is all Saaf knows. Growing up, his dad sold candy on the street, and Saaf never went to school. Instead, he roamed the camp looking for work, which he still does today.
He always dreamed that one day, he would be able to give his kids a better life in Palestine.
"After what Trump said, it's like we died," Saaf said. "We lost hope. I'm sad for the future of my kids. I don't want to have any more kids, because I'll just destroy their future."
Thousands of Palestinians have held demonstrations across Lebanon over the past week, including one in Beirut on Sunday that turned violent. Protesters threw rocks and set rubbish cans on fire outside of the US embassy, while Lebanese security forces fired tear gas and water cannon into the crowd.
At another protest in the capital on Monday, demonstrators chanted: "Death to America! Death to Israel!"
"We don't accept Trump's decision," Ali said. "So we will fight."
WHY PALESTINIANS ARE FLEEING LEBANON
Gatestone Institute, Khaled Abu Toameh. April 1, 2019
Palestinians appear finally fed up with the apartheid and discriminatory laws they have been subjected to in Lebanon. Al-Jazeera recently reported that 1,500 Palestinians left Lebanon in less than three months.
The Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in Tripoli, Lebanon.
(Photo by Salah Malkawi/Getty Images)
Palestinians appear finally fed up with the apartheid and discriminatory laws they have been subjected to in Lebanon in the past few decades. They appear fed up with the ongoing apathy towards their plight in the international community and media. They also appear fed up with the international media's obsession with Israel and the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The only Palestinians the international media reports about are those whose "problems" are directly linked to Israel.
For the past year, dozens of international journalists based in the Middle East have been covering the weekly protests along the Gaza-Israel border. These journalists, however, seem to care precious little about the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in Lebanon, who, for several decades now, have been protesting the apartheid and discrimination practiced by an Arab country.
In an attempt to draw the international community to their grievances, the Palestinians of Lebanon have launched a campaign called "Hakki" ("My Right") to demand equality and an end to discrimination. The campaign was launched on the 18th anniversary of a law prohibiting non-Lebanese nationals, including Palestinians, from owning property in Lebanon.
Palestinians say that this law and similar ones passed by the Lebanese parliament in the past few decades deny them basic rights and the ability to live in dignity. As a result of these laws, they say, the conditions of Palestinians in Lebanon have worsened to a point where 65% of them live below the poverty line.
"The social and humanitarian crises facing the Palestinians in Lebanon because of these laws have directly impacted other aspects of their lives, including education and health," the Palestinians argue. "In addition, the laws have caused psychological tensions that are reflected in various aspects of their lives. This requires immediate action."
The "Hakki" campaign is aimed at "affirming that the demands of the Palestinian refugees [in Lebanon] are a humanitarian right in accordance with humanitarian conventions that the Lebanese government has signed on to," the organizers of the campaign explained.
The campaign coincides with reports that a growing number of Palestinians have begun leaving Lebanon. In February 2019, the Qatari-owned Al-Jazeera network reported that 1,500 Palestinians have left Lebanon in less than three months. Titled "The Silent Asylum," the report quoted Palestinian sources as saying that the exodus of the Palestinians was in the context of a US scheme to "liquidate the right of return" for Palestinian refugees and their descendants to Israel.
The report revealed that a travel agency in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, has secured entry visas for the Palestinians to Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Ethiopia and Bolivia. On their way back from these countries, the Palestinians stop in European countries where they file requests for asylum. The report also revealed that the Lebanese authorities were not blocking the Palestinians from leaving their country.
"A Palestinian refugee in Lebanon who is registered with UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees) and holds a Lebanese travel document has the right to leave the country any time he or she wishes," said newspaper editor Munir Al-Akiki. The Lebanese authorities, he added, cannot prevent any Palestinian living in Lebanon from leaving the country as long as they leave in accordance with the law.
The man behind the "Hakki" campaign, journalist Ahmed Al-Haj, said that Palestinians in Lebanon are "deprived of almost everything, and that's why we have many demands, including the right to work and own property." The campaign that his friends and he launched also calls for easing security restrictions imposed on Palestinian refugee camps, Al-Haj said.
"The campaign is aimed at drawing the attention of the Lebanese authorities to the need to amend the unfair laws against Palestinians," he explained. "Hakki is designed to highlight the suffering of the Palestinians in Lebanon and explaining the dangerous repercussions of these laws."
The organizers of the "Hakki" campaign say that their goal is also to win the support of the Lebanese people and international human rights organizations for the plight of Palestinians in Lebanon. As part of their efforts, the organizers are also planning to hold meetings with Lebanese politicians and media personalities to gain their support for changing the laws that discriminate against Palestinians.
According to a report published by the US Department of State:
"Palestinian refugees [in Lebanon] were prohibited from accessing public health and education services or owning land and were barred from employment in many fields... A 2010 labor law revision expanded employment rights and removed some restrictions on Palestinian refugees; however, this law was not fully implemented, and Palestinians remained barred from working in most skilled professions... The law considers UNRWA-registered Palestinian refugees to be foreigners, and in several instances they experienced worse treatment than other foreign nationals."
According to an Associated Press report:
"... Palestinians in Lebanon suffer discrimination in nearly every aspect of daily life, feeding a desperation that is tearing their community apart.
"Many live in settlements officially recognized as refugee camps, but better described as concrete ghettos ringed by checkpoints and, in some cases, blast walls and barbed wire...
"Palestinians are prohibited from working in most professions, from medicine to transportation. Because of restrictions on ownership, what little property they have is bought under Lebanese names, leaving them vulnerable to embezzlement and expropriation."
The organizers of the "Hakki" campaign are naïve if they believe that after more than 70 years of discrimination, Lebanon will suddenly change its policies and laws against the Palestinians. They are naïve if they assume that the Arab leaders, who held another summit in Tunisia this week, would pay attention to the plight of Palestinians in Lebanon or any other Arab country. They are also naïve if they believe that the international media and human rights organizations would endorse noticing what the Palestinians are experiencing in Lebanon.
The Lebanese are happy to see the Palestinians leave Lebanon, and most of Arab countries do not give a damn if the Palestinians move away -- to Europe or Brazil or Argentina, it makes no difference to them.
Addressing the Arab League summit in Tunisia on March 31, Lebanese President Michel Aoun had nothing to say about the discrimination and apartheid Palestinians face in his country. Instead, he chose to express concern over the recent US decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Aoun also suggested that Syria, where hundreds of thousands of people have been killed since the beginning of the civil war there in 2011, be allowed back into the Arab League. Syria's membership was suspended in 2011 over its brutal crackdown on Syrians protesting the Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.
The Arab and Western silence towards the plight of the Palestinians in Lebanon achieves one thing alone: aggravating Palestinian agony. Yet the only evil the Arab leaders and the international community see is the supposed evil that they link to Israel. Thus, the Hamas-sponsored violence on the border with Israel is trumpeted in the media and human rights organizations as "peaceful protests" while Palestinians in Lebanon suffer in media silence, awaiting permission to live in dignity in an Arab country.
VICTIMS OF ARAB DISCRIMINATION, RACISM
Gatestone Institute by Khaled Abu Toameh, 2019
The Lebanese are angry. Why? Because Palestinians are protesting a crackdown on illegal foreign workers in Lebanon, thereby exposing Lebanese racism and a hatred of their Palestinian brothers.
For the past three weeks, thousands of Palestinians in Lebanon have been demonstrating against the Lebanese authorities' crackdown on illegal workers, which is directed mainly against Palestinians and Syrians living there.
"The Palestinians are not foreigners in Lebanon," said the Palestinian academic and political analyst, Abdel Sattar Qassem.
"Palestinians in Lebanon are refugees and, as such, they should be treated in accordance with international regulations concerning refugees. The Palestinians have been a strong economic pillar of Lebanon. They initially contributed to the advancement of the primitive Lebanese economy; they plowed the land, planted and harvested, and set up projects that supported Palestinians and Lebanese. The Palestinians have also contributed to Lebanon's security and they are still prepared to fight to protect Lebanon and maintain its security. It is true that some Palestinian factions have made mistakes related to the civil war in Lebanon, but later they realized this mistake and fixed it."
This week, Palestinian activists in Lebanon vowed to continue their protests against the crackdown after the Lebanese government rejected demands to rescind its measures against illegal workers. The activists said that despite promises from senior Lebanese officials to stop targeting Palestinian workers and businesses, the crackdown was continuing. They also pointed out that the Lebanese government has thus far failed to issue an official statement to resolve the crisis.
As part of their campaign against the Lebanese measures, representatives of several Palestinian factions in Lebanon met with Hassan Huballah, an official with the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist group in Beirut, and urged him to help in halting the crackdown on Palestinian workers and businesses. Hezbollah, according to reports in the Lebanese media, is opposed to the Lebanese government's measures against illegal workers.
The Palestinian factions in Lebanon consider Iran and its proxy, Hezbollah, important allies in the fight against Israel and the US. During the meeting with Huballah, the Palestinian faction representatives reportedly praised Hezbollah's "role in confronting the American-Zionist project in the region."
The alliance between the Palestinians and Hezbollah, as well as the continued demonstrations against the crackdown on illegal workers, has angered some Lebanese, who have begun inciting against the Palestinians in recent weeks, and increasing tensions between the Palestinians and Lebanese.
Lebanon's Christian foreign minister, Gebran Bassil, was the first to spark angry reactions from Palestinians (and some Lebanese) after he defended his country's measures against foreign workers. On Twitter, Bassil wrote last June: "It is normal to defend the Lebanese labor force against any other foreign labor, whether it be Syrian, Palestinians, French, Saudi, Iranian or American, the Lebanese come first!"
Many Palestinians and Lebanese took to social media to condemn the foreign minister for his "racist" remark. "Bassil only wants Christians around him, that doesn't build a good Lebanon. He is like a Palestinian Hitler," commented one social media user.
Many Lebanese have expressed concern over the growing Palestinian protests in their country – particularly that the demonstrations are now taking place outside Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. For these Lebanese, as long as the Palestinians are protesting inside the refugee camps, there is no problem. Once the Palestinians take their protests outside the camps, however, then there is reason for the Lebanese to be concerned about scenes of anarchy and lawlessness.
Echoing the widespread concern, a prominent Lebanese actress, Soha Kikano, called for burning Palestinians in Nazi ovens. Her comment on Twitter came in response to a Palestinian demonstration in the city of Sidon in southern Lebanon to protest the crackdown on illegal workers. Kikano also described the Palestinians as "monsters" who want to stay in Lebanon and work without proper permits from the authorities.
The actress's unprecedented attack on the Palestinians drew sharp condemnations from many Palestinians, who complained that hatred for Palestinians was growing in Lebanon. Some Lebanese citizens, on the other hand, have defended the actress by arguing that she was only seeking to defend Lebanese workers.
The controversy surrounding the crackdown on illegal workers and businesses, and the increased fear in Lebanon that the Palestinian protests could plunge the country into violence and anarchy, are likely to escalate in the coming days: the Lebanese authorities appear determined to continue enforcing workforce regulations in their country.
The Palestinians of Lebanon were likely hoping that their protests would rally many Lebanese behind them. Instead, the Palestinians seem to have alienated many Lebanese, who consider the Palestinians second-class citizens and are eager to see them leave Lebanon.
Lebanon's discriminatory and apartheid laws and measures against Palestinians are not new. According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), Palestinians in Lebanon are excluded from key facets of social, political and economic life. Palestinian refugees face legal restrictions that limit their rights, including the prohibition to work in 39 professions and to own property. Moreover, they have limited access to state-provided services such as health and education.
Professions that remain prohibited for Palestinians include healthcare, engineering, transport, fishing, and the public sector and law.
It takes little imagination to predict the global uproar were, say, Israel to ban Arabs from working as engineers, can drivers, nurses or physicians. The international community and pro-Palestinian groups, however, seem distinctly indifferent about the plight of Palestinians in an Arab country.
What would be the international outcry if a prominent Israeli figure or official were to call for "burning Palestinians in ovens." Yet, when a well-known Arab does just that, self-described pro-Palestinian activists suddenly go deaf.
While the Lebanese people's fear of Palestinian violence in their country is warranted, there is no reason why any Arab country should be subjecting Palestinians to discriminatory and apartheid regulations. The story of the mistreatment of Palestinians in Lebanon is a microcosm of a bigger problem: the Arab "betrayal" and "abandonment" of Palestinians.
Many Arab countries perceive the Palestinians as a burden, an ungrateful people who have long been milking their Arab brothers of money. The turning point was in 1990, when the Palestinians supported Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait – a country that used to provide them with millions of dollars in aid. The Palestinians ran to the streets to celebrate the occupation of Kuwait. When Kuwait was liberated a year later by the US-led coalition forces, the tiny emirate and other Gulf Countries deported hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and cut off financial aid to the PLO and many Palestinian institutions.
For now, all signs point to the Palestinians in Lebanon facing the same fate as their brothers did in Kuwait and the Gulf states back in the early 1990s. That is, of course, unless the international community intervenes to pressure Lebanon and other Arab countries to stop using the Palestinians as pawns in their campaigns of incitement against Israel. It is time for the Arab countries to replace lip service to the Palestinians with deeds. It is also time for the international community and so-called pro-Palestinian groups to start reckoning with the real suffering of Palestinians, particularly in Lebanon.
Uncovering Lebanon's Jewish past Al Jazeera
Jews Of Lebanon, Rhona Lewis -, 2018
Protection in Lebanon UNRWA
Angry Palestinian marches in the camps of Lebanon against the Labor Law, Alraby, August 2019
HISTORY OF THE JEWS
WIKIWIKIUP 2016 (20.33)
MIDDLE EAST - ROAD TO WAR
First transmitted on the ITV network 13/11/1969 (27.00)
Lebanon' once known as the Monte Carlo of the East - the 'This week' team speak to some of the key figures in the country and some of the protagonists behind the devastating civil war that lasted almost a decade.
SYRIA - WAR - LEBANON
Transmitted in 30/11/1978
Jonathan Dimbelby (11.54)
This Week' travels to The Lebanon to witness first-hand the destruction and chaos the civil war has caused to the country. And the wide spread destruction caused to the city that was once called
the Monte Carlo of the East -- Beirut.
ISRAEL FORTIFIES BORDERS
WITH LARGE WALL
Israel has decided to fortify its border with Lebanon in case of a war with longtime foe, Hezbollah. While it protects the residents living near the border In case of attack, the IDF is always prepared to preemptively attack.
Our Daniel Tsemach has the story.
OF PALESTINIAN REFUGEES
ARE MOVING OUT OF LEBANON
Al Jazeera English 2018 (2.39)
Palestinian refugees have been leaving Lebanon for years, either legally or illegally, owing to the dire economic conditions and government regulations that deny them basic rights.
A few years ago, there were 450,000 Palestinian refugees registered with the United Nations. However, the first ever government census showed
the number dropped to 175,000 earlier this year.
Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr reports from Beirut.
JEWS OF LEBANON
BBC 2012 (46.26)
WHY LEBANON IS FRACTURED
BY THE CONFLICTS
IN THE MIDDLE EAST
NowThis World 2016 (3.47)
CIVIL WAR- LEBANON -
Transmitted in 22/04/1976
This Week' travels to The Lebanon to witness first-hand the destruction and chaos the civil war has caused to the country. And the wide spread destruction caused to the city that was once called the Monte Carlo of the East -- Beirut.
HEZBOLLAH – CAPABILITIES AND ROLE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
South Front 2017 (46.38)
Hezbollah is a social and political movement with a strong armed wing. It was formed in 1980s. Hezbollah’s creation was conditioned by the aspiration of the Shia population of Lebanon to meet the challenges of Israeli expansion and Western “new-style” colonialism.
PLIGHT OF PALESTINIAN REFUGEES
Al Jazeera English 2010 (2.48)
Palestinian refugees are living in miserable conditions across Lebanon due to many factors such as scarce financial resources
Shunned by many employers, not allowed to own property and facing discrimination, Palestinian refugees are reduced to a miserable existence
in overcrowded and unsanitary camps.
On Sunday, thousands are expected to march to highlight their plight.
Al Jazeera's Rula Amin reports from Lebanon.
50 YEARS OF OCCUPATION:
FOR PALESTINIANS IN LEBANON
TRT World 2017 (3.06)
Palestinian refugees live in camps scattered across the country.
Zeina Awad went to Bourj Al Baraj-neh refugee camp outside the capital Beirut.
She sent us this report.
LEBANON - THE JEWS AND THE PALESTINIANS
LIFE IN THE SHADOWS: PALESTINIANS IN LEBANON - AL ALJAZEERA WORLD 2016 (46.52)
In 1948, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced to leave their country during the ‘Nakba’,
the founding of the state of Israel.
Click here to see
Jewish Exiles Overview,
Population change between 1948 and 2012, Maps