arabstateofmind:

Doubly Homeless - Syria’s Palestinians in Lebanon

Lebanon has now passed the 100,000 mark of Syrian refugees in the country. But one group is sadly forgotten: Syrian Palestinians. Having fled the fighting, they now live in Lebanon’s Palestinian camps, where they rely on help from local organisations. Many have come to Ain el-Hilweh, in the middle of the coastal city of Saida.

The streets of Ain el-Hilweh are busy. Old cars, mothers with their kids and young guys on motorbikes all try to make their way through the narrow roads. Small shops line the streets: old women sell their vegetables next to cellphone vendors and minimarts. But this familiar street life takes place against a run-down setting: Ain el-Hilweh is the largest, and one of the most overcrowded, of Lebanon’s 12 Palestinian camps. The camps, set up originally to care for those who fled Palestine after 1948, are now permanent homes for hundreds of thousands of people. Most residents live in poor conditions, without proper access to basic services, discriminated against by Lebanese society.

This is where the Syrian Palestinian families have found temporary homes. Ali Salam, project manager for the local organisation Naba’a, says that at least 400 families have come to Ain el-Hilweh alone. “In each family, there are maybe three or four people. Most live with relatives or people they know in the camp—often as many as 10 people in one room.”

For many families, fleeing the inescapable reality of war in Syria, only meant facing another harsh reality in neighbouring Lebanon. Assistance has been slow: all UN assistance to refugees is funnelled through its refugee agency, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Except assistance to the Palestinians; a separate agency, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), was set up in 1949 with the mandate to provide for them. Today, when international donors earmark money for the Syrian refugees, none of those funds reach the Palestinians.

Instead, organisations in the camps do what they can to support the refugees and the local families who house them. The international NGO War Child, in partnership with Naba’a, runs programmes with the children to help them settle in the new environment. Manal Eid is programme development manager for War Child. “It’s very hard for these kids. They have experienced different situations of violence and abuse. We try to build up their strength and hope and produce possibilities for them to heal from their emotional and psychological wounds.”

War Child’s activities take place in a building just off the main thoroughfare in Ain el-Hilweh. The place, which is big but very simple, is full of children, both local kids and refugees from Syria; the idea is to integrate the newcomers and help them find new friends in the camp. In one room, a group of children around a large, round table discuss violence—“Emotional violence is the worst, it hurts more than when someone beats you”, they agree—and how to counter it.

At another table sits 11-year-old Hana, who fled Syria with her family only a few weeks earlier. She speaks about her trip to Lebanon: Together with her mum and siblings, she had to cross the border by foot after the driver had been killed at a checkpoint. “Now we live in a house that belongs to a relative. But I’m not happy here, I have no friends. I would like things to go back to how they used to be, so that I can return and go to school,” she says.

Saleh, a 7-year-old boy, sits next to Hana. He speaks with simple, short sentences, relating what happened before he came. “My house was hit by a bomb and split in two, so we couldn’t live in it anymore. That’s why we came here. But I dream every day of going back, and for our house to be OK.” He’s sad, he says, that he cannot go to school in the camp. “I went to the school, twice, but they said I couldn’t go. So then I told them: If I can’t register here, I’ll go to another school!”

An important part of War Child’s work is having the children talk about what they’ve been through. A psychologist and a team of social workers meet with the kids and help them deal with their difficult experiences. Ruwaida Ismail, War Child’s psychiatrist, meets refugee children every day. Most of the ones newly arrived from Syria carry traumatic experiences with them.

“Many of them show signs of trauma: violent behaviour, nightmares and fear. But most are introverted. One boy, 9 years old, saw his mother die. He was playing on the roof of his house when his mother spotted a sniper. She ran up to get him, but got shot herself. Now, this kid doesn’t talk—he doesn’t even hear anymore. That is clearly psychological,” she says.

Her colleague, social worker Hanadi Miari, relates a story Hana told her. “Hana’s house in Syria is just next to a small park. Right before they left for Lebanon, a truck came and dumped a truckload of soil in the park. But there were dead bodies hidden inside, so from her window, Hana could see arms and feet sticking up.”

The Syrian Palestinians face harsh conditions in the camps. 66,4 per cent of Lebanon’s Palestinians live in poverty, and more than half – 56 per cent – are jobless. Two thirds of camp residents live in houses that suffer from dampness or leakage, resulting in psychological and chronic illnesses. Lebanon is much more expensive than Syria, and it is very hard for the newly arrived refugees to find work.

Being Palestinian also means that the visa conditions are different: Whereas Syrians can stay in Lebanon for six months, Palestinians get one month at the border, and after that they must pay 50,000 LL per person, per month (as compared to the Lebanese minimum wage, which is set at 675,000 LL or $448 monthly). The sum for a refugee family soon becomes huge.

“Some families have actually returned to Syria, because it’s so expensive to stay here. Without work and money to pay for the expenses, they see no other option,” says Ali.

One of the few to have found a job in Ain el-Hilweh is Alaa Abu Dhees, a 22-year-old civil engineer and music teacher from Aleppo. Now, she’s working with Naba’a. “I came as a refugee myself, so I wanted to do something to help these children,” she says. Her home is in Aleppo’s Neirab, the largest Palestinian camp in Syria. But conditions in Neirab were very different from those in Ain el-Hilweh. “It’s not at all like here. We never had this issue of being treated worse because we’re Palestinians. I have lots of Syrian friends, it was never an issue. In Lebanon, it’s very different,” says Alaa.

For her, the hardest thing is not feeling safe in the camp. Ain el-Hilweh has a longstanding problem with armed groups, and the environment is rougher than what Alaa is used to from Neirab. “It’s very hard to live here—I don’t know anyone in the camp and there are lots of weapons. We’re not used to that at all, we never had that in Syria. The sound of bullets—I had never heard that before the war. Here, you can hear it almost every day.”

The changes her home city has gone through are hard to grasp—and sad. Like other Aleppans, Alaa is facing an entirely different reality now. “Aleppo used to be a peaceful place,” she says. “There was always life in the streets, and my friends and I went out in the evenings without any concerns. Now, you cannot imagine how the city has become. It’s so destroyed—the market, the Umayyad mosque; all these places that we used to go to have been hurt in the fighting. It makes me so sad.”

War Child and their staff continue to work with the children and their families. Using well-established programmes for kids in difficult situations, they try to instil hope and the strength to move on. For most refugees, it’s the everyday things from life in Syria that they miss the most. “People tell us that they dream of simple things, like going back to their homes and finding them intact, or having coffee and playing backgammon with the neighbours like they used to,” says Ruwaida.

For Ain el-Hilweh’s newcomers, today’s reality is far from that. Alaa, sitting at a table in War Child’s centre—far from her Aleppo home and the studio where she taught students to play oud and flute—tries to smile when she speaks, but she has sad eyes. “I want to believe in peace, eventually. But it will take a long, long time.” (x)

(Photos by Karim Mostafa)

(via yanorayanora)

I would like to end by stressing that - contrary to the Palestinians who have blown themselves up into Israeli civilians - Hezbollah has never done so. Hezbollah has not engaged in any suicide operation against Israeli civilians in its eighteen-year struggle with the Israeli forces occupying south Lebanon. Rather, all its field and martyrdom operations targeted Israeli military and intelligence personnel.

Joseph Alagha (via readyokaygo)

However, suicide terrorism is not the only form of terrorism.  Hezbollah has, in the past and repeatedly, aimed rocket attacks at Israeli civilian border towns.  And Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the Secretary General of Hezbollah, supports Palestinian suicide operations against Israeli civilians and has stated that, “in occupied Palestine there is no difference between a soldier and a civilian, for they are all invaders, occupiers and usurpers of the land” (source).

(via readyokaygo-deactivated20130325)

israelfacts:

Thirty Years Ago Today: 1,700 Palestinians are massacred in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps under the direct responsibility of the then Israeli defence minister Ariel Sharon, who was later elected president
BBC:

The 1982 massacres of Palestinians at Sabra and Shatila refugee camps claimed the lives of 1,700 civilians, murdered by Lebanese Christian militiamen allied to Israel during its brief occupation of the Lebanese capital, Beirut.
The killings are considered the worst atrocity of Lebanon’s 15-year civil war and perhaps during the entire Middle East conflict.
The victims had been left defenceless after Israel drove the Syrian army and fighters belonging to Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) from the Lebanese capital.
The expulsion of the PLO was the result of Israel’s “Operation Peace for Galilee” invasion, masterminded by then-Defence Minister Ariel Sharon, to eradicate the “terrorist threat” posed by the Palestinians’ military presence in Lebanon.
The slaughter was carried out by fighters from the Lebanese Forces militia (LF), linked to the Christian Phalange group, who were hungry for revenge for the killing of the Phalange leader Bashir Gemayel in a car bomb two days earlier.
PLO forces withdrew in a US-mediated ceasefire at the beginning of September.
Mr Sharon declared that “2,000 terrorists” remained in Palestinian refugee camps around Beirut. Sabra and Shatila were surrounded by Israeli tanks and soldiers, with checkpoints to monitor the entry or exit of any person.
But on the afternoon of 16 September about 150 LF fighters moved into the camps.
Massacre begins
Survivors say that the killers went from house to house, threatening to blow up buildings if the residents did not come out.
The survivors reported overhearing the Phalangists telling one another to use axes to kill their victims, because the sound of gunfire would alert others to their fate.
“They killed my sister’s husband in front of me,” said survivor Nadima Nasser. “I saw them shooting at the men. They killed them all. I fled.”
Mrs Nasser is one of 23 survivors who have lodged a legal case against Mr Sharon in Belgium, where the law allows him to be tried for alleged crimes committed abroad.
Her testimony, along with others is included on a newly-launched internet site about the massacres, Justice for the Victims of Sabra and Shatila.
Israeli inquiry
Mr Sharon resigned his post after an Israeli commission of inquiry established that he bore indirect responsibility for the deaths for “having disregarded the danger of acts of vengeance” by the militias when he allowed them into the camps.
The Kahane Commission inquiry said LF intelligence chief Elie Hobeika had direct responsibility, because he ordered the killings.
Mr Hobeika denied involvement in the killings right up to his death in a car bomb attack on 24 January 2002.
Outside Israel, human rights groups have long argued that Mr Sharon and the Lebanese Christian perpetrators should be tried for war crimes.
In January 2001, in the run-up to Israeli elections in which he won a resounding victory, Mr Sharon expressed regret about the “terrible tragedy,” but refused to apologise or accept any responsibility for the massacres.
The Belgian court is still deciding whether to pursue charges of crimes against humanity against Mr Sharon.
Hobeika had said he would testify against the Israeli Prime Minister and had “important revelations” to make.

Photo: (World Press Photo Winner 1982) Aftermath of massacre of Palestinians by Israeli soldiers and Christian Phalangists in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, Beirut, Lebanon, 18 September 1982. Robin Moyer / Black Star for Time

israelfacts:

Thirty Years Ago Today: 1,700 Palestinians are massacred in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps under the direct responsibility of the then Israeli defence minister Ariel Sharon, who was later elected president

BBC:

The 1982 massacres of Palestinians at Sabra and Shatila refugee camps claimed the lives of 1,700 civilians, murdered by Lebanese Christian militiamen allied to Israel during its brief occupation of the Lebanese capital, Beirut.

The killings are considered the worst atrocity of Lebanon’s 15-year civil war and perhaps during the entire Middle East conflict.

The victims had been left defenceless after Israel drove the Syrian army and fighters belonging to Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) from the Lebanese capital.

The expulsion of the PLO was the result of Israel’s “Operation Peace for Galilee” invasion, masterminded by then-Defence Minister Ariel Sharon, to eradicate the “terrorist threat” posed by the Palestinians’ military presence in Lebanon.

The slaughter was carried out by fighters from the Lebanese Forces militia (LF), linked to the Christian Phalange group, who were hungry for revenge for the killing of the Phalange leader Bashir Gemayel in a car bomb two days earlier.

PLO forces withdrew in a US-mediated ceasefire at the beginning of September.

Mr Sharon declared that “2,000 terrorists” remained in Palestinian refugee camps around Beirut. Sabra and Shatila were surrounded by Israeli tanks and soldiers, with checkpoints to monitor the entry or exit of any person.

But on the afternoon of 16 September about 150 LF fighters moved into the camps.

Massacre begins

Survivors say that the killers went from house to house, threatening to blow up buildings if the residents did not come out.

The survivors reported overhearing the Phalangists telling one another to use axes to kill their victims, because the sound of gunfire would alert others to their fate.

“They killed my sister’s husband in front of me,” said survivor Nadima Nasser. “I saw them shooting at the men. They killed them all. I fled.”

Mrs Nasser is one of 23 survivors who have lodged a legal case against Mr Sharon in Belgium, where the law allows him to be tried for alleged crimes committed abroad.

Her testimony, along with others is included on a newly-launched internet site about the massacres, Justice for the Victims of Sabra and Shatila.

Israeli inquiry

Mr Sharon resigned his post after an Israeli commission of inquiry established that he bore indirect responsibility for the deaths for “having disregarded the danger of acts of vengeance” by the militias when he allowed them into the camps.

The Kahane Commission inquiry said LF intelligence chief Elie Hobeika had direct responsibility, because he ordered the killings.

Mr Hobeika denied involvement in the killings right up to his death in a car bomb attack on 24 January 2002.

Outside Israel, human rights groups have long argued that Mr Sharon and the Lebanese Christian perpetrators should be tried for war crimes.

In January 2001, in the run-up to Israeli elections in which he won a resounding victory, Mr Sharon expressed regret about the “terrible tragedy,” but refused to apologise or accept any responsibility for the massacres.

The Belgian court is still deciding whether to pursue charges of crimes against humanity against Mr Sharon.

Hobeika had said he would testify against the Israeli Prime Minister and had “important revelations” to make.

Photo: (World Press Photo Winner 1982) Aftermath of massacre of Palestinians by Israeli soldiers and Christian Phalangists in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, Beirut, Lebanon, 18 September 1982. Robin Moyer / Black Star for Time

(via tatreezconsciousness-deactivate)

xeb695:

12/8/2012- Today the memory of the massacre of Tel Zaatar refugee camp for Palestinian refugees east of Beirut in 1976 that killed nearly 3,500 Palestinians.The alienation of the sea between two shots

Quick background:  
The massacre occurred during the Lebanese Civil War.  Phalangist Christian Lebanese targeted already alienated Palestinian civilians in this refugee camp.  While there were militants among them, the deaths were overwhelmingly civilian.

xeb695:


12/8/2012- Today the memory of the massacre of Tel Zaatar refugee camp for Palestinian refugees east of Beirut in 1976 that killed nearly 3,500 Palestinians.
The alienation of the sea between two shots

Quick background:  

The massacre occurred during the Lebanese Civil War.  Phalangist Christian Lebanese targeted already alienated Palestinian civilians in this refugee camp.  While there were militants among them, the deaths were overwhelmingly civilian.

(via theillspirit-deactivated2013040)

readyokaygo:

eretzyisrael:

By: Soprgal on deviantART

This is a pretty ignorant and “scary” map for conservatives who shiver at the sight of Arabic. Why is Hizballah’s flag in place of Lebanon’s? Lebanon is a sovereign nation and has a national flag. Why is Hamas’s flag in place of the Palestinian flag? Where is the West Bank? Last time I checked, the Golan Heights belonged to Syria. Why is the Muslim Brotherhood’s flag in place of Egypt’s?
Also, it is fucking hilarious how you tag your shit with peace. Clearly, that is your intention.

#israel #middle east #egypt #lebanon #syria #jordan #iran #flags #peace#politics
For clarification, that is how the OP tagged this piece.  No, Iran is not on this map.
I suppose I understand the usage of Muslim Brotherhood’s, Hamas’, and Hezbollah’s flags, but then you would have to use party flags or symbols for other countries too if you’d want it consistent.  It seems that the OP only used party flags for those parties which are deemed threatening by the West.  
It is also inconsistent to include Gaza as a separate state, but not the West Bank.  Gaza is not truly sovereign and neither is the West Bank.  Really, both should be included with Palestinian flags, or none should be with only the Israeli flag, as I’m sure the OP wishes Israel could keep all that land.  
In short, I agree with Readyokaygo’s analysis, save for the Golan Heights.  It was annexed by Israel in a defensive measure, all of the Druze who lived there have Israeli citizenship, and while I wish it had been given back to Syria in return for peace, neither Israel nor Syria have been willing to negotiate.  It is not quite Israel proper, but nor is it on the same level as the Occupied Territories of the West Bank and Gaza.  And it is certainly not Syria’s at the moment either.

readyokaygo:

eretzyisrael:

By: Soprgal on deviantART

This is a pretty ignorant and “scary” map for conservatives who shiver at the sight of Arabic. Why is Hizballah’s flag in place of Lebanon’s? Lebanon is a sovereign nation and has a national flag. Why is Hamas’s flag in place of the Palestinian flag? Where is the West Bank? Last time I checked, the Golan Heights belonged to Syria. Why is the Muslim Brotherhood’s flag in place of Egypt’s?

Also, it is fucking hilarious how you tag your shit with peace. Clearly, that is your intention.

#israel #middle east #egypt #lebanon #syria #jordan #iran #flags #peace#politics

For clarification, that is how the OP tagged this piece.  No, Iran is not on this map.

I suppose I understand the usage of Muslim Brotherhood’s, Hamas’, and Hezbollah’s flags, but then you would have to use party flags or symbols for other countries too if you’d want it consistent.  It seems that the OP only used party flags for those parties which are deemed threatening by the West.  

It is also inconsistent to include Gaza as a separate state, but not the West Bank.  Gaza is not truly sovereign and neither is the West Bank.  Really, both should be included with Palestinian flags, or none should be with only the Israeli flag, as I’m sure the OP wishes Israel could keep all that land.  

In short, I agree with Readyokaygo’s analysis, save for the Golan Heights.  It was annexed by Israel in a defensive measure, all of the Druze who lived there have Israeli citizenship, and while I wish it had been given back to Syria in return for peace, neither Israel nor Syria have been willing to negotiate.  It is not quite Israel proper, but nor is it on the same level as the Occupied Territories of the West Bank and Gaza.  And it is certainly not Syria’s at the moment either.

(via readyokaygo-deactivated20130325)

escenariosreg:

Many killed as Lebanese clash over Syria
Twelve people reportedly killed in Tripoli as opponents and supporters of Syria’s regime fire machine guns and grenades.
Twelve people have been killed and dozens wounded in Lebanon’s northern city of Tripoli in clashes between supporters and opponents of the Syrian regime, local media reports.
Among the dead on Saturday were a woman and her son, killed by a rocket in the Bab al-Tabanneh district, a mostly Sunni Muslim community which supports Syria’s opposition, a security official said.
At least five were wounded in Jabal Mohsen, an area mainly populated by Alawites who support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Residents of the neighbouring districts have clashed repeatedly in recent weeks, but Saturday’s death toll is the highest in a single day in Tripoli.
Sporadic gun and rocket fire broke out at midnight and continued through the night, forcing some residents of the port city to flee their homes.
“Over recent months, people have been warning that the crisis in Syria was going to spill over into the country,” Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr, reporting from the capital, Beirut, said. 
“It actually has spilled over, and it’s becoming a dangerous reality.
“Ceasefires have come and gone but without a political consensus, it’s likely that we’ll see more clashes.
Pictured: The army has been called in to quell fighting in Tripoli, where sporadic clashes have continued for months [Reuters]

escenariosreg:

Many killed as Lebanese clash over Syria

Twelve people reportedly killed in Tripoli as opponents and supporters of Syria’s regime fire machine guns and grenades.

Twelve people have been killed and dozens wounded in Lebanon’s northern city of Tripoli in clashes between supporters and opponents of the Syrian regime, local media reports.

Among the dead on Saturday were a woman and her son, killed by a rocket in the Bab al-Tabanneh district, a mostly Sunni Muslim community which supports Syria’s opposition, a security official said.

At least five were wounded in Jabal Mohsen, an area mainly populated by Alawites who support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Residents of the neighbouring districts have clashed repeatedly in recent weeks, but Saturday’s death toll is the highest in a single day in Tripoli.

Sporadic gun and rocket fire broke out at midnight and continued through the night, forcing some residents of the port city to flee their homes.

“Over recent months, people have been warning that the crisis in Syria was going to spill over into the country,” Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr, reporting from the capital, Beirut, said. 

“It actually has spilled over, and it’s becoming a dangerous reality.

“Ceasefires have come and gone but without a political consensus, it’s likely that we’ll see more clashes.

Pictured: The army has been called in to quell fighting in Tripoli, where sporadic clashes have continued for months [Reuters]

reallyfarrah:

No no no no nooo. Not this again.

reallyfarrah:

No no no no nooo. Not this again.

(via azzooz-deactivated20120918)