Lebanon's Palestinians

published in MER186

This article was written by a special correspondent.

Residents of Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon have been cautiously peeking out of their prison-like camps after nearly a decade of sieges and assaults. But looking out is now fraught with anxiety. There is no future in the camps, residents complain, and few means of earning an income where unemployment for Palestinian refugees may be as high as 40 percent.

The dismal outlook is only compounded by the recent PLO-Israel peace accord, which unambiguously signals the final abandonment of the refugees in Lebanon. Ironically, it is this same community that credentialized Arafat and the PLO’s representation of the Palestinian people and were the mass base supporting its operations in exile.

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An Interview with Mark Duffield

by Joe Stork
published in MER187

Mark Duffield visited Croatia and Bosnia between January 9 and 22, 1994, as part of a study of complex political emergencies. Joe Stork spoke with him on January 28, 1994.

In your field report you refer to the failure to provide protection as representing a political failure of historic consequences.


by Nu'man Kanafani
published in MER194

I was afraid. Why should I be? But once I stood in front of the young women in the white and blue-striped shirt I was reduced to shivering with a tongue as dry as the Negev. She asked me insistently, “Why are you here?” I had earlier thought of two or three convincing answers, but suddenly I could not decide on any of them and I stood there looking at her with empty eyes, trying to control my sweating hand.

Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon

by Muhammad Ali Khalidi
published in MER197

Palestinians have endured military occupation, deportation, torture, land confiscation, massacre, siege, aerial bombardment and internecine conflict but until this year they had been spared the experience of being boat people. That has now changed with the recent odyssey of a boatload of some 650 Palestinians stranded off the coast of Cyprus.

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Palestinians in Post-War Lebanon

From Refugees to Minority

by Julie Peteet
published in MER200

As Lebanon’s elite strategizes post-war reconstruction and national reconciliation, the future of the Palestinian community in the country hinges on the outcome of the Arab-Israeli peace talks, particularly the multilateral talks on refugees. [1] Popular sentiment holds that “peace” will not produce the conditions for return or compensation. In the meantime, Palestinians living in camps in Lebanon face insurmountable odds, including poverty, unemployment and political disenfranchisement.

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Political Negotiations on the Palestinian Refugee Question

Interview with Salim Tamari

by Ingrid Gassner-Jaradat
published in MER201

Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on the Palestinian refugee question began with the first meeting of the Multilateral Working Group on Refugee Affairs in 1992. After the 1993 Oslo accords, the question of the repatriation of the 1967 refugees to the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip was to be dealt with immediately by a quadripartite committee composed of delegations from Israel, Jordan, Egypt and the PLO. The international community was to provide financial and technical assistance for large-scale programs to improve living conditions in Palestinian refugee camps in the diaspora, and for databanks and research.

Documenting Land Ownership in the Palestinian Authority

by Michael R. Fischbach
published in MER202

The Protocol Concerning Civil Affairs, an annex to the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip of September 1995, formalized the process by which Israeli authorities would transfer responsibility over land matters to the Palestinian Authority (PA). The first Oslo agreement had called for the establishment of a “Palestinian Land Authority” that could administer property matters in the areas under Palestinian self-rule. These matters include registration, surveying, and state and “absentee” lands. [1]

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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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Fifty Years Through the Eyes of "New Historians" in Israel

by Ilan Pappe
published in MER207

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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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