Dis/Solving the "Refugee Problem"

by Rosemary Sayigh
published in MER207

“A displaced person owns nothing but the spot where he is standing, which is always threatened.” -- Murid Barghouti

Israeli power, US backing, Palestinian weakness, Arab complicity -- these are the basic ingredients for a coercive settlement of the “refugee problem” based not on refugees’ rights but on their disappearance. The “new Middle East” must be tidied up; states, citizens and borders must correspond; disruptive anomalies must be removed. Because of their centrality to regional instability, eliminating the Palestinian refugees is essential to a pacified Middle East free to fulfill its designated role in the global economy.

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Burj al-Barajna Dispatch

by Reem Kelani
published in MER210

After making my way through the rubble and squalor of the overcrowded refugee camp near Beirut’s International Airport, I arrived half an hour late for my appointment with Umm Muhammad, a local living repository of Palestinian folk song traditions.

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Interventions

Interventions is a feature in Middle East Report Online offering critical reviews of important Middle East-related books, films and other cultural production. Click here for past Interventions articles.

Shooting Film and Crying

by Ursula Lindsey | published March 2009

Waltz with Bashir (2008) opens with a strange and powerful image: a pack of ferocious dogs running headlong through the streets of Tel Aviv, overturning tables and terrifying pedestrians, converging beneath a building’s window to growl at a man standing there. It turns out that this man, Boaz, is an old friend of Ari Folman, the film’s director and protagonist. Like Folman, he was a teenager in the Israeli army during its 1982 invasion of Lebanon. And the pack of menacing dogs is his recurring nightmare, a nightly vision he links to the many village guard dogs he shot -- so they wouldn’t raise the alarm -- as his platoon made its way through southern Lebanon.

The Collateral Damage of Lebanese Sovereignty

by Jim Quilty | published June 18, 2007

Residents of Lebanon might be forgiven for wanting to forget the last 12 months. The month-long Israeli onslaught in the summer of 2006, economic stasis, sectarian street violence, political deadlock and assassinations—most recently that of Future Movement deputy Walid ‘Idu, who perished along with ten others in a June 13 car bomb explosion—have weighed heavily upon the country. It is as if the dismembered corpse of the 1975-1990 civil war—assumed to be safely buried—has been exhumed and reassembled, all the more grotesque. Since May 20, the Palestinians in Lebanon, too, have been made to relive past nightmares.

Khalili, Heroes and Martyrs of Palestine

by Rosemary Sayigh
published in MER245

Laleh Khalili, Heroes and Martyrs of Palestine: The Politics of National Commemoration (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007).

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Shatila Dispatch

"We Are Still Palestinians"

by Mayssun Sukarieh
published in MER217

"Before the intifada children used to mock me when I mentioned Palestine. They would say that Palestine was lost, that I was dreaming, that Arafat forgot about us," remarks Rabi' Zaaroura, 15. "Now they have become interested in politics." In the Palestinian refugee camp of Shatila in Beirut, the revival of hope and politics is inscribed on the walls. Murals of Muhammad al-Durra -- the boy whose televised shooting death at Netzarim crossing in the Gaza Strip became an icon of the new intifada. Pictures of Jerusalem and maps of Palestine fill every available space.

Greater Insecurity for Refugees in Lebanon

by Rosemary Sayigh | published March 1, 2000

Expectations of a regional settlement have exacerbated the always bad security situation of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Possible unilateral Israeli withdrawal from South Lebanon has intensified regional competition to control the "Palestinian card," particularly in the South where more than half the refugee population lives.

A Landscape of Uncertainty

Palestinians in Lebanon

by Laleh Khalili
published in MER236

The events following the assassination of Rafiq al-Hariri and Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon have not discernibly changed the situation of Palestinians in Lebanon. While a surprising government edict has made it easier for Palestinians to get clerical and manual jobs, calls for disarming them and permanently settling them in Lebanon grow louder.