Palestine and Palestinians in Lebanon
KBOO 90.7 FM webcast at www.kboo.fm
First part of the show this week is about Palestinian refugees right to work in Lebanon in light of changes in the Lebanese reforms after Syrian Pullout. Hundreds of thousands of stateless Palestinian refugees live in Lebanon scattered in refugee camps throughout the country, originally displaced through the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. Legally defined as foreigners, Palestinians live in Lebanon as second-class citizens without any basic social or political rights.
Currently Palestinian refugees in Lebanon do not have the right to work in over 70 professions, while broader laws and regulations of the Lebanese state undermine the basic survival of Palestinians. They are forbidden from owning property, the majority living in refugee camps throughout the country, which are surrounded by Lebanese military check-points.
In June 2005, Lebanon’s Labour Minister proposed changes to the country’s labour laws regarding the right to work for Palestinian refugees. The changes, if implemented by Lebanon’s newly formed government, will grant the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the country the right to work in manual and clerical jobs, while still being forced to apply for foreign work permits. The proposed changes will still prohibit many Palestinian professionals from working in their fields of expertise including, medicine, law and engineering.
The proposal to grant Palestinians the right to work in limited professions, takes place in the context of larger ongoing political changes in Lebanon. In April 2005, Syria complied with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559 and withdrew upwards of 15 000 troops from Lebanon.
Social and political pressure also forced from Lebanon, tens-of-thousands of Syrian workers from the country. Many Palestinians in the camps express skepticism regarding the economic motives for this change regarding their right to work. It has been argued that Palestinian refugees can now fill the cheap-labour vacuum, left by the withdrawal of Syrian labour force.
The second part of the show is a speech from Aaron Lakoff a member of the International Solidarity Movement and a journalist with CKUT community radio in Montreal. This presentation was given in Montreal, at a panel organized by Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR.org), shortly after Aaron returned from working for 2 months in the Israeli occupied West Bank, with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). Aaron originally traveled to Palestine, as part of a “Birthright Israel” trip, with the intention of going to work with Palestinians struggle against Israeli occupation.
This presentation specifically focuses on the realities on the ground in occupied Palestine, in the context of the reemergence of “negotiations” between the Israeli state and the Palestinian Authority, specifically addressing the ongoing construction of Israel’s Apartheid Wall and ongoing “Settlement” construction throughout Palestinian territory.
-> For more information of the situation of Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon visit the Independent Media Center of Beirut at: www.beirut.indymedia.org
-> To view report and pictures from Aaron Lakoff in Palestine visit: aaron.resist.ca