Poverty trap for Palestinian refugees

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Article/book #: 6542
Title: Poverty trap for Palestinian refugees
By: Alaa Shahine  
Published in: Al-Jazeera Online
Date of issue: Monday, 29 March 2004
Topic(s) addressed:


»These restrictions on Lebanon’s 400,000 Palestinian refugees have been mounting since the end of the country’s 15-year civil war in 1990. They are banned from 73 job categories including professions such as medicine, law and engineering. They are not allowed to own property, unlike other foreigners, and are denied access to the Lebanese healthcare system.«

»But who said settling was an option? The Lebanese government has said repeatedly that it will not allow Palestinian refugees to settle. It says that granting them work permits and rights to own land will encourage them not to leave and jeopardise their right of return.«

»According to refugees, those living in other camps are not allowed even to obtain construction tools such as cement to fix their houses. "We can only do this here because we have Syrians living in the camp," said Ahmad Abd al-Hadi, referring to the Syrian influence in Lebanon.«

»"The Lebanese hire Palestinians because they don’t require any kind of medical or social securities, and they can work for as long as 12 hours a day without complaining," said Nuhad Hamad, a middle-aged Palestinian woman who runs a local institute that provides basic vocational training and educational services to the camp’s inhabitants.«

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