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The case of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon

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  1. Introduction
  2. The political, economic and social dilemma facing the Palestinian refugees
  3. The demographical challenges
  4. Palestinian refugees in Lebanon
  5. The idea of permanent settlement
  6. The housing situation in the refugee camps
  7. Israel's official stance towards the Palestinian refugees
  8. The Palestinian Lebanese relationship
  9. Conclusion
  10. Works cited

Refugee situations across the world have been characterized by three different outcomes: return to the country of origin, assimilation in the host country or resettlement into a third country. All of the above have proven unrealistic options for the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. This less than optimistic outlook of the situation is mostly due to the complex interplay of several local, regional and international factors, which, as defined by Rosemary Sayigh, can be condensed down to: ?the skewing of international funds away from the ?outside? refugees [and allocated to residents of the West Bank and Gaza], decline in aid, Israeli refusal of return or indemnification, and Lebanese refusal of civic rights?. All of these variables, coupled with the absence of Palestinian political and social leadership coherence amongst the refugee communities, has made the problem of the Palestinian refugees residing in camps on Lebanese territory, utterly challenging and resistant to resolution. The issue is further complicated by the influential role of international economic and political pressures exerted upon all actors involved in the refugee problem ? Lebanon, Israel, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Palestinian refugees themselves.

[...] Restrictions such as the one prohibiting the rebuilding of camps after the civil war or building of new houses on empty land, have greatly 22 Khazen, A Recipe for Conflict?, p Sayigh, ?Harsh Present?, p Sayigh, ?Harsh Present?, p Sayigh, ?Harsh Present?, p Sayigh, ?Harsh Present?, p exasperated the already precarious conditions most families live in.27 Estimates indicate that after the war, approximately 6,000 families (close to 35,000 people) were displaced from the their refugee camps and were living in pseudo-houses on the outskirts of the still remaining camps.28 Additionally, even if shelter is secured, the hygiene of most camps is endangered by the lack of water shortages and public sewage systems.29 In short, the ?housing and sanitation conditions of Palestinians in Lebanon fail to meet acceptable standards and sanitation conditions, and should be improved to fulfill the basic living requirements of human beings and human society?.30 Unemployment is another major problem facing Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. [...]


[...] This, however, ?would require overcoming the competing nationalism, sectarian chauvinism, patronage networks Salam, ?Between Repatriation and Resettlement?, p Salam, ?Between Repatriation and Resettlement?, p Salam, ?Between Repatriation and Resettlement?, p. 25; Khazen, Recipe for Conflict?, p Hudson, M. (1997). Palestinians and Lebanon: The Common Story. Journal of Refugee Studies no p.246 Palestinians in Lebanon bureaucratic politics, regional security dilemmas, and global interests that have set the two communities against each other? Hudson, Palestinians and Lebanon: The Common Story p Works Cited Abbas, M. (1997). The Socio-economic Conditions of Palestinians in Lebanon: The Housing Situation of the Palestinians in Lebanon. Journal of Refugee Studies no pp Brynen, R. (1997). [...]


[...] As Sayigh frames it: International, regional, and Lebanese factors interact to produce a continually deteriorating situation for the Palestinian community, especially its poorest and most vulnerable segment? The demographical challenges posed by the lack of accurate statistics is only one of the many obstacles characterizing the plight of the refugee population.8 Indeed, one of the difficulties in designing viable solutions to the Palestinian refugees problem in Lebanon begins with the very first act of determining the actual size of the refugee population in the country. [...]

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