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« Egyptian Media 'Standard Bearers for Anti-Israel Sentiment' | Main | BBC: Downplaying Sderot's Suffering »

Tuesday, October 13 2009

Lawfare Boomerangs on Palestinian Refugees

Michel_aoun2

If you're looking for an example of how the Arab world treats Palestinian refugees like dirt, look no further than Nahr El-Bared, which the Lebanese army destroyed in destroyed in 2007.

Politically motivated legal action (i.e., lawfare) brought the camp's reconstruction to a halt. The LA Times explains:

On Thursday, the country's highest administrative court is expected to rule on an official request from Christian leader Gen. Michel Aoun's party, the Free Patriotic Movement, to stop reconstruction in order to survey archaeological remains discovered beneath the camp.

But Aoun's critics say his efforts to stop reconstruction are politically motivated, an appeal to his Christian base which fears that the reconstruction would promote the assimilation of Palestinians, skewing the Muslim-Christian balance in this fiercely sectarian country. Others see the attempt to stop reconstruction as a nod to the Lebanese Army, which enjoyed unprecedented support during the Nahr el Bared campaign and is widely seen as having "paid a high price" with 170 soldiers killed.

It's not a perfect parallel to the post-Goldstone report lawfare Israel faces. But as an outsider looking at Aoun's legal maneuver, I'm left wondering why the Lebanese aren't more sympathetic to their Palestinian brothers.

For that matter, the PA could also help refugees leave their camps by settling at least some in Rawabi, a West Bank city under development. Lenny David notes that the project -- marketed to high-tech Palestinian yuppies -- hasn't earmarked any housing for refugees in camps like Nahr El-Bared.

Plans call for 30,000 housing units in Rawabi. That equals one house for each of the 30,000 Nahr El-Bared refugees left homeless by the Lebanese legal limbo.

UPDATE Oct. 13: A blistering commentary in today's NY Daily News slams Arab regimes for dispossessing the Palestinian refugees.

 

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