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									                                    ‫مركـز الدراســات الستراتيجيــة‬       962 6) 5355666 :‫)هاتف‬
                                       ‫الجامعــــــة الردنيـــــــة‬      962 6) 5355515 :‫)فاكس‬

                                  Center for Strategic Studies         Tel.: 962 6 5355666
                                  University of Jordan                 Fax: 962 6 5355515

                                       www.jcss.org                   css@css-jordan.org


                                  Palestinian Refugees in Syria and Lebanon: The
                                         Social Situations and Their Repercussions

                           Nick Smith
                Supervised by Dr. Walid Alkhatib
      Center for Strategic Studies – The University of Jordan

                           August 2010

        The refugee issue in the Middle East has been and continues to be a major issue facing

the states in the region. After the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict around 700,000 Palestinians fled

from the British mandated area of Palestine to neighboring countries and around the world

(Pappe 2006). According to UNRWA records, Syria has absorbed about 407,743 refugees since

then while Lebanon received around 415,000 refugees. Syria and Lebanon have adopted

different means of handling their refugee populations resulting in two very different social

contexts in which these refugees have had to respond to. Both of these refugee communities are

facing drastically different social conditions concerning their needs such as education, property

rights, health care, and rights to labor.

        These social settings directly affect the cooperation of the refugee populations with their

host countries and the frequency of their attempts at undermining the state. The refugees and

their actions are based purely on their independent feelings of desperation. I chose to analyze the

situations specifically in Syria and Lebanon because they best demonstrate the polarity between

both governments’ approaches to the refugees under their supervision.

        The context of this research is based on the following: the number of refugees registered

or unregistered with the UNRWA, their place and year of origin, where they are located in their

host countries, what rights the refugees have concerning education, labor, property, politics, and

how the refugees have subsequently responded to these factors.

Palestinian Refugees in Syria

       “At present, a camp is a place for adaptation construction. It helps its
       inhabitants to preserve the unique essence of refugee status and
       enables refugees to create a collective memory, a political self-
       awareness and a sense of national belonging.”
-                                          Dr. Hamad Said Al- Mawed

       In Syria there are approximately 364,473 – 407,743 refugees as a result of the 1948

Arab-Israeli conflict that are registered with UNRWA and an estimated 125,000 who are

unregistered (Shafie 2010). There are currently ten registered UNRWA camps in Syria and four

unregistered camps located all over the country. Unregistered refugees and camps do not receive

aid from UNRWA or UNRWA services. Following the 1948 war the Syrian government created

the necessary institutions to accommodate the incoming refugee population. According to

Shafie, these institutions’ responsibilities include refugee registration, relief assistance, finding

employment opportunities for refugees and managing the funds and contributions intended for

them. So far, the services that UNRWA and the Syrian government have provided refugees has

nurtured an environment that-according to Hamad Said Al-Mawed-is considered to be better

than Palestinian communities elsewhere in the Arab world.

       The majority of UNRWA camps are located around Damascus and in the southwest of

the country, the rest are located in the north near the cities of Homs, Hama, and Aleppo. There

are also four unregistered camps, one of which is located in Damascus, one in Latakia, and the

other two are smaller camps whose locations are undisclosed. The following table shows the

name of the camps and the reported number of refugees in each:

10 Official UNRWA Camps (115,863 refugees) http://www.unrwa.org

       Camp Name              Number         City

      Neirab                 16,615         Aleppo
      Hama                   7,032          Hama
      Homs                   13,168         Homs
      Jaramana               9,065          Damascus
      Qabr Essit             12,467         Damascus
      Sbeineh                15,255         Damascus
      Khan Eshieh            15,040         Damascus
      Khan Danoun            7,841          Damascus
      Dera’a Emergency       5,268          Dera’a
      Dera’a                 5,683          Dera’a

Unregistered Camps (131,648 refugees)

       Camp Name              Number         City

      Yarmouk                120,000     Damascus
      Latakia                      8,148       Latakia
      Ramadani               1,000       Unknown
      Ein El-Tal             2,500       Unknown

       It should be noted that the Yarmouk camp is considered unregistered because it borders

have blended into the neighborhoods surrounding it. Syrians are living in areas of the camp and

the camp has a municipal council and local committee. The Ramadani camp is considered a

resettlement camp and houses less than 1,000 refugees (Al-Sahli 1999).

       The Palestinians who settled in Syria came to Syria by different means, some by boat and

others through various ways of land travel, but the majority of them originated from northern

Palestine and the Galilee. The following table demonstrates the origin of the refugees in

Palestine and what percentage they make up of the total refugee population:

Distribution of Palestinians in Syria by Place of Origin in Palestine 1948

       City                   Number                  Percentage of Total

   •   Safad                  137,551                         39.81
   •   Haifa                  76,440                          22.12
   •   Tiberias               56,867                          16.46
   •   Acre                   26,823                          7.76
   •   Jaffa                  17,679                          5.1
   •   Nazareth               16,612                          4.8
   •   Jerusalem              3,006                           0.87
   •   Lod                    3,060                           0.88
   •   Bissam                 2,217                           0.64
   •   Gaza                   1,525                           0.44
   •   Talkarem               854                             0.24
   •   Nablus                 191                             0.005
   •   Jenin                  358                             0.1
   •   Unknown                2,659                            .775

*Prepared privately by GAPAR Damascus, 1997 (Al-Mawed 1999).

        Upon the receipt of the Palestinian refugees the Syrian government created and enacted

Law no. 450 in 1949, which created the General Authority for Palestine Arab Refugees or

GAPAR (Al-Sahli 1996). GAPAR was bestowed with the following duties,

       “to keep registers of Palestinians living in Syria showing personal status and
       professions, to be a junction between Syrian authorities and refugees, to contact
       international institutions, organizations, etc. to obtain assistance for refugees, to
       represent the refugees in meetings of the Arab League Department of Regional
       Affairs, to represent Palestinians and to represent refugees in the annual
       conference of the host countries which came into being in 1964,” (Al-Mawed

GAPAR was designed to work in conjunction with UNRWA in its efforts to provide medical

care, education, housing, and other social services for the refugees without compromising their

national identity.

         Following the creation of GAPAR the Syrian government enacted laws to protect and

facilitate the integration of Palestinians into Syrian society while allowing them to maintain their

Palestinian nationality. In 1957, the Syrian government enacted Law no. 260 that made the

government’s view of refugees equitable to that of their Syrian neighbors in all areas except

nationality and political rights. Essentially, refugees are entitled to the same employment

opportunities, trading rights, residence accommodations, mandatory military service, and health

services without stripping them of their nationality.

         In 1960 during the time of the United Arab Republic Nasser issued Decree no. 28

issuing Palestinians legal travel documents to allow ease of travel. Then in 1963 Law no. 1311

amended Decree no. 28 and “limited travel documents to those Palestinians registered with the

General Authority for Palestinian Arab Refugees and who hold Syrian provisional identity

cards,” (Shafie 2000). This law was considered to be progressive at the time as, “article 20 of

the same law stated that a Palestinian with a Syrian travel document has the right to return to

Syria without a visa,” (Al-Mawed 1999) while neighboring countries did not provide the same


         Following the 1963 law Syria ratified the Casablanca Protocol in 1965 which aims at

providing Palestinian refugees in all Arab states with equal treatment. The agreement laid out the


         “(1) Whilst retaining their Palestinian nationality, Palestinians currently residing
          in the land of …… have the right of employment on par with its citizens.
         (2) Palestinian residing at the moment in …… in accordance with the dictates of
          their interests, have the right to leave and return to his state.

         (3) Palestinians residing in other Arab states have the right to enter the land of
         …… and to depart from it, in accordance with their interests. Their right of
         entry only gives them the right to stay for the permitted period and for the
         purpose they entered for, so long as the authorities do not agree to the contrary.
         (4) Palestinians who are at the moment in …, as well as those who were
         residing and left to the Diaspora, are given, upon request, valid travel
         documents. The concerned authorities must, wherever they be, issue these
         documents or renew them without delay.
         (5) Bearers of these travel documents residing in LAS states receive the same
         treatment as all other LAS state citizens, regarding visa, residency
         applications.” (Badil Resource Center).

Syria’s support of the Casablanca Protocol has provided the Palestinian refugees in Syria with a

quality of life that is comparable to that of the average Syrian.

        Syria has to this day upheld all aspects of the Casablanca Protocol enabling refugees in

Syria to live in reasonable conditions. The refugees’ ability to work is not inhibited, as they

don’t need permits to work. They are allowed to work in government positions, own businesses

and homes with exception to land for agricultural and trading purposes, and join labor unions,

(Shafie 2000) but are in turn required to serve in the military. Some refugees have used their

situation in Syria to their advantage and about 70% have moved out of the camps and settled in

the surrounding areas (Brand 1988). Of these, according to Shafie, 41% work in the service

sector, 27% in construction, and 15% in the industrial sector. One prime example of this is the

relative growth and success of the unofficial Yarmouk camp located in Damascus. The camp is

considered unofficial because of the communal blending of Syrian communities with those of the

refugees. Many refugees in Yarkmouk have successfully begun running businesses and

participating in local committees and municipal councils.

         Under the Casablanca Protocol all refugees are treated the same as Syrians and therefore

have much better access to education and civil rights than refugee populations elsewhere.

Concerning education, refugees are brought up in UNRWA schools but have the option of

pursuing a secondary education through government universities. Furthermore they maintain all

the same civil rights as a Syrian citizen with the exceptions of the right to run for candidacy or

vote. Because they are barred from politics in general they have no real association with any

political parties.

         It is clear from the above facts and information that the refugee population of Syria has

been treated with a respectable level decency and fairness. Syria’s allowing of the refugees to

integrate into the local populations has seen incredible results in the civil and social fields.

Palestinians have become welcomed members of their communities once the boundaries of the

camps began blurring with the surrounding neighborhoods. The refugees have been looked upon

as a community in need of protection and that is what they have found in Syria.

Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon

        “Generally speaking, the Palestinian refugee community in Lebanon
        is the most unfortunate and destitute refugee community in any Arab
        host country. Lebanon’s Palestinian refugees are deprived of almost
        all basic human rights and subject to various forms of
        marginalization –spatial, economic, and institutional- and this is
        often linked to exclusion, violence, and displacement.
-                                                  Jaber Suleiman

        After the 1948 Arab-Israeli war the majority of Palestinians who were residing in

the northern regions of Palestine, the Galilee and the cities of Haifa, Acre, and Safad,

fled to southern Lebanon (See Appendix A). The following table shows the refugees city

of origin in Palestine and the estimated number of refugees from each city:

Refugees in Lebanon and their Origins in Palestine

       City of Origin                                Number of Refugees

   •   Jerusalem (Hebron and Ramallah)               1,583
   •   Nablus (Jenin and Tulkarm)                    394
   •   Gaza (Beersheba)                              411
   •   Lydda (Jaffa and Ramleh)                      26,871
   •   Galilee (Acre, Nazareth, Safad, Tiberius)     228,580
   •   Haifa                                         61,420
   •   Other                                         168
       Total                                         _______
                                                     (Brynen 1997).

Following the war in 1949 the UN established the, “United Nations Relief and Works Agency

for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East or UNRWA,” to help provide food, education, shelter,

and medical care to the 400,000 refugees in Lebanon (EMHRN Mission 2000). Currently the

refugees in Lebanon are some of the most marginalized refugees in the world because of the

precarious situation that the Lebanese state finds itself in. The French imposed a sectarian

government to promote equality in representation and many Lebanese view the refugee

population as potentially upsetting this balance.

       Currently the number of refugees in Lebanon is contested. According to Tiltnes (2005) a

moderate estimate would put the figure around 200,000 people residing in the country while

there are around 400,000 (Suleiman 2006) registered with UNRWA. It is believed that the

missing 200,000 have all emigrated to the United States, Europe, and the Gulf. To break it

down even further there are additional refugees who are registered with the Lebanese authorities

and not with UNRWA. According to Sherifa Shafie there are three types of refugees in Lebanon:

those registered with UNRWA, those registered with the Lebanese government but not with

UNRWA, and those who are not registered with either the Lebanese authorities or UNRWA.

UNRWA registered refugees number approximately 406,342, the second group around 10,000 to

40,000, and the third group between 10,000 and 16,000 peoples. Those not registered with

UNRWA are subject to the limitations of the Lebanese legislation and receive no housing or

medical aid making them the most marginalized of the population. (FMO Research Guide).

       There are currently 12 registered refugee camps throughout Lebanon. Two of the camps

have previously been destroyed in the civil war bringing the old total of 14 to the current 12.

Additionally, there are 15 unregistered Palestinian gatherings and unofficial camps. The

following is a table depicting the names of the various UNRWA camps, the estimated number of

refugees in each, and their locations:

Camps in Lebanon (213,764 refugees as of 2006)

       Camp Name                         Number                      City

   •   Ein El-Hilweh                     45,337                      Saida
   •   Nahr El-Bared                     31,023                      Tripoli
   •   Rashidieh                         25,580                      Tyre
   •   Burj Al-Barajneh                  20,405                      Beirut
   •   Burj El-Shemali                   18,659                      Tyre
   •   Beddawi                           16,198                      Tripoli
   •   Shatila                           12,235                      Beirut
   •   El-Buss                           10,107                      Tyre
   •   Wavel                             7,553                       Beqa’a
   •   Mieh Mieh                         5,037                       Saida
   •   Dbayeh                            4,211                       Beirut

   •   Mar Elias                       1,411                           Beirut
   •   Dikwaneh and Nabatieh           16,108                          Destroyed

                                                                     (Shafie 2006).

       Compared to their Syrian counterparts the rights of Palestinian refugees in

Lebanon are almost non-existent. Although it would seem as if the Lebanese state has

taken proactive steps to alleviating the situation, most of their efforts have failed to

change realities on the ground.

       As in Syria the refugees in Lebanon do not have the right to vote or run for candidacy.

There are some keys differences in the basic functioning of the Lebanese and Syrian political

systems. Syria has been and continues to be a one party Baathist state while Lebanon has a-even

if poorly functioning-representative democracy. Because political affiliation is more open in

Lebanon some Palestinians have created their own political realms to work within. There are

currently three primary political parties that Palestinians in Lebanon participate in aside form the

remnants of the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Although they are all quite small their

political ideologies and membership should raise concerns about the potential radicalization of

the wider refugee population. According to Alfred Prados (2007) the first of these parties in

known as Jund Al-Sham or the Army of Greater Syria, which consists of mostly Lebanese civil

war veterans and holds less than 100 people. The second is known as the Asbat Al-Ansar or the

League of Partisans, which is majority Palestinian and houses some 300-400 people. Finally

there is the Fatah Al-Islam with about 100-300 people who are thought to have ties to Al-Qaeda

and Syrian intelligence.

       As mentioned before the rights and legal status of refugees in Lebanon make for some

of the worst refugee conditions in the world. Although many of the Lebanese state’s earlier

laws made an effort to do the same thing as Syria, the application of these laws were never

wholly successful. Following the 1948 war, the Lebanese government created the Central

Committee for Refugee Affairs, an organization with responsibilities similar to Syria’s

GAPAR. Eleven years later, in 1959, the name of the committee was changed to the

Department of Palestinian Refugee Affairs and was placed under the authority of the

Lebanese Department of the Interior. This new organization maintained the following


       “Article 1: The DAPR shall carry out the following:
       - Contact UNRWA Lebanon to ensure the receipt, relief, shelter, education,
       health and social services for the Palestinian refugees;
       - Receive and examine applications for passports and transfer them to the Surete
       Generale (General Security);
       - The registrations of personal documents relating to birth, marriage, divorce,
       death, change of residence and change of sect or religion;
       - Approve applications for reunification of dispersed families;
       - Approve exemption of custom duties for personal and household items for
       person coming from Palestine for family reunification;
       - Designate the localities of camps and process documents and procedures for
       their lease and ownership;
       - Issuing permits to allow the transfer of residence from one camp to another;
       - Approve marriage applications from refugees in Lebanon to refugees in other
       Arab countries;
       - Approve the transfer of frozen or oncoming funds to refugees in Lebanon.
       Article 2: the Ministers of state shall provide DAPR with the necessary technical
       assistance,” (Suleiman, 2006: 12).

Following the initial establishment of the DAPR the Lebanese government then issued Decree

no. 927 which added additional protections not founded originally with DAPR. Decree no.

927 required the Lebanese government to designate the refugee camps inside Lebanon and

their inhabitants along with any births, marriages, deaths, or changes of residence. The

government also reserved the right to receive or deny any transfer of aid from abroad for the

refugees. Finally, the government codified that it would not provide any social services or

political, civil, or social rights.

       In 1962 Lebanon passed Law 10 that very specifically classified Palestinian refugees as

foreigners. This was detrimental to the refugees for a number of reasons but because,

        “The Lebanese law deals with Palestinian refugees as foreigners or rather as a
         ‘special category of foreigners’… the legislation denies Palestinian refugees
         basic rights granted to its nationals, while at the same time not granting them the
         refugee right recognized and enshrined in the refugee law and relevant
         international instruments,” (Suleiman 2009).

Additionally, this law barred Palestinians from being able to obtain work permits. To be able

to work one must apply for and obtain residency in that country. The law considers anyone,

“a foreigner, in the meaning of the present law, a person who is not Lebanese…the

Palestinians were excepted from the mentioned definition since they do not hold a nationality

in the legal sense of the term and were distinguished from other nationals…” (El-Natour and

Yassine 2007). What this effectually did was perpetuate the cyclical conditions of poverty that

many refugees found themselves in after the war.

       As many Arab countries did in 1965, Lebanon signed the Casablanca Protocol that

aims to protect Palestinian refugees in their host countries. Syria’s successful application of

the protocol was mentioned before and was met with resounding success. Lebanon on the

other hand did sign the protocol but with the following reservations on the 8th of March 1966:

       “Article 1: The Palestinians residing at the moment in Lebanon are
        granted the right of employment, together with the right to keep their Palestinian
        nationality, in accordance with the prevailing social and economic conditions in
        Article 2: adds the phrase: “on equal terms with the Lebanese citizens and in
        accordance with the laws and regulations in operation.”
        Article 3: that the phrases, “Whenever their interests demand it” and “allowing
        Palestinians into Lebanon is conditional upon their obtaining an entry visa issued
        by the concerned Lebanese authorities.
        Articles 4 and 5 were held under reservation,” (Al-Mawed 1999)

At the time the Lebanese government signed the Casablanca Protocol it was immediately in

conflict with Law 10. These conflicting policies allowed for any Lebanese government

thereafter to pick and choose what they would rather adhere to, their own laws or an

international agreement. In light of this it is clear that the Lebanese government has chosen to

keep the refugees in political limbo in an attempt to maintain some kind of internal political

balance within the sectarian system.

      The Palestinian refugees, in an attempt to protect their status, were issued three

different types of documents from the government. The purpose of these documents is to

distinguish between refugees who originally fled the 1948 war and those who came later, as

UNRWA is only there to protect those who originally fled Palestine. The first type of refugees

are those registered with UNRWA and DAPR. These refugees were issued permanent,

renewable residency document with mandatory renewal every five years. They were also

issued legitimate travel documents to provide them with a means of traveling between Arab

countries freely as outlined in the Casablanca Protocol. The second group are those who are

only registered with DAPR but permanently. They are also issued a laisser-passer for travel

purposes. The final group comprises Palestinians who fled the West Bank in 1967 and Jordan

in 1970. They are not registered with DAPR or UNRWA so they have no IDs or official

documents of any kind. These refugees are the most impoverished and marginalized of the

entire community in Lebanon because they don’t have what little protection the other two

groups maintain. Additionally, the latter two groups are not registered with UNRWA so they

do not receive any services such as education, housing or employment (El-Natour and

Yassine 2007).

      In 1995 the Lebanese government took another retroactive step towards upholding

refugee rights by passing Order no. 478. This order required all peoples leaving Lebanon to

obtain an exit visa, and all those entering to obtain an entry visa. While those refugees still in

Lebanon at the time were, to a degree, unaffected there were many refugees who were outside

of Lebanon traveling. Many of these refugees have family members in neighboring countries

and upon the codification of this law those who were outside of Lebanon, even if they have

proper travel documents and identification, were barred from reentry because they did not

have an exit visa. Not only did these cut families off from each other, again, but it also

continued to degrade the refugees’ views of the government that was supposed to be

protecting them.

      The refugees also have very limited social resources that their Syrian brothers and

sisters enjoy with support from the government. For example, the refugees are denied access

to Lebanese public healthcare. Pair this with the deplorable conditions in the camps and you

have rampant disease and sickness that has very little access to UNRWA and its already

limited resources. Concerning education the UNRWA website (www.unrwa.org) shows us

that the refugees in Lebanon have some of the most limited educational resources and largest

class sizes. The majority of the schools are falling apart with no help from the state to repair

them or make the serviceable. Furthermore, refugees unregistered with UNRWA, groups two

and three mentioned earlier, have no access to these schools whatsoever making for a large

portion of the population that is uneducated. With what little UNRWA has it does offer

secondary education in Lebanon which it does not do elsewhere. To add to the already

desperate situation the refugees have very limited access to employment of any kind and many

times are jailed or fined if they are found to be working without a permit. According to

Sherifa Shafie refugees have five many sources of income: employment with UNRWA,

remittances from relatives working abroad, employment in Palestinians associations or

organizations, employment in agriculture and Lebanese companies or employment in shops or

enterprises. There are strict limitations that state Palestinians can only work in skilled

professions if they are members of a Lebanese association and have received a license. They

are also prohibited from Lebanese social security because of these restrictions. This was

expanded upon with governmental decrees 1, 289, and 15 which explicitly prohibited

Palestinian employment in over 72 trades and professions including, “owning a business

involved in trading, currency exchange, gold, printing, publishing, car repair and engineering

or health service,” but, “palestinians are generally able to practice most professions or own

businesses inside the 12 official camps,” (El Sayad-Ali). In 2005, the Lebanese government

made another attempt at proactive refugee policy by issuing Ministry Memorandum no. 67/11

that finally allowed for refugees to work certain manual and clerical jobs that were previously

restricted. Jaber Suleiman notes that this particular memorandum, although progressive in

nature was, “largely symbolic as it did little to change the situation on the ground,” (2005). In

August 2010 the Lebanese parliament passed yet another law concerning the working status of

Palestinians residing in the country. As of August 17, 2010 Palestinians are now able to apply

for free work permits to work within the private sector, according to the new law. While this

is a great step in the direction of allowing the refugees a means of bettering their situation it

does not address their more pressing concerns. According to the Jim Muir Article the refugees

still do not have access to any public jobs or services including schools and medical care. So

while any change in the refugee situation will take some time to manifest it this can at least be

seen as a step in the right direction. The last restriction to note of concerns property ownership

which the August 2010 law does nothing to address. In 1969 Lebanon passes Presidential

decree 11614 that was later amended in 2001 with Law no. 296 which states that individuals

who are not citizens of a recognized state may not own property in Lebanon. This makes it

incredibly difficult for any Palestinian to have any secure living situation. For those that do,

they find it nearly impossible to repair their homes if such a situation arises as this law forbids


      These conditions only add to the complexity and frustration of the refugee population

and, as we know, largely uneducated and sequestered masses become the breeding grounds

for rebellious and disgruntled ideologies. Lebanon’s history has shown us that the

marginalization of its refugee population has led to the arming of the paramilitary wings of the

PLO and other political organizations, the destruction of refugee camps, civil war and smaller

inter-confessional conflicts. If this continues Lebanon will further tarnish its international

image as a “democracy” if it cannot treat the peoples residing on its soil with a level of human


The Conditions of the Refugees and Their Repercussions: Taking a Look at
the Differences in Policy and Their Consequences

       “Each time refugees want to leave or return to their homes, they have to pass an
        army checkpoint and show their documents, reinforcing a perception that they
        are outsiders and a potential threat, rather than refugees in need of
                              -Amnesty International. 17 October 2007 Glossary

       “In Palestinian schools, the Palestinian history of struggles and revolution tends
        to be preponderant22 and provides the means by which a revolutionary
        consciousness is inculcated.”
                                                     - Adam Ramadana

      The Syrian and Lebanese governments have taken radically different approaches to the

treatment of their refugees populations and have similarly reaped radically different outcomes

from their policy decisions. Because of the aforementioned policies Syria has developed a

somewhat harmonious relation with the refugees within its borders while Lebanon has no only

instigated more problems but continues to be the primary source of refugee discontent.

      The Palestinians in Syria have enjoyed a somewhat prosperous and cohesive

relationship with the state and its citizens and have essentially become productive members of

society or of their respective communities. This is not to deny that the average refugee

struggles more than the average Syrian, but they certainly have the necessary avenues to

pursue an education and a means to provide for their families. It is continuously socially

reinforced that they are there to be protected and that they are no different from their Syrian

Arab brothers and sisters while understanding that their homeland lies in Palestine. Syria has

done itself a service by signing and upholding international refugee rights laws and the

Casablanca Protocol, further reinforcing a sense of protected status within its refugee

populations and thus earning their respect and compliance. When a person’s basic needs are

satisfied they don’t have a tendency to rebel against the provider and the situation in Syria is

demonstrative of just that.

      Lebanon on the other hand is quite obviously dealing with their refugee populations in

an inappropriate and detrimental manner. The only logical explanation for this is to maintain

the delicate sectarian balance within the countries fragile political system. Due to the

countries history of civil war between various Christian, Muslim, and Druze communities it is

understandable that the general public in Lebanon would be afraid of a massive shift in a

demographic majority drastically increasing the Muslim vote in parliament.

      Yet in the Lebanese government’s attempt at protecting itself it has only fostered more

instability, wasted more resources, and lost the trust of a peoples who sought its protection.

For Lebanon has suffered irreparable consequence and has potentially lost any cooperation or

benefit that the refugees could provide in helping maintain a cohesive state without the

refugees losing the national identity. The government has stoked the fires of insurrection

forcing many refugees to turn to other alternatives to meet their increasing needs.

      By contrasting the status of refugees in Syria and Lebanon we can see how a displaced

people react when conditions call for desperate action. When desperation sets in the

revolutionary conscious that Adam Ramadana speaks of takes over in an attempt to change the

current situation. If Lebanon would like to change what has become its fractured society it

must begin addressing the issues of the 400,000 refugees who make up almost eighth of the

countries population. And while the most recent law enacted in August can be viewed as a

positive step in the right direction it will take a concerted effort to implement the law and

begin restoring a sense of decency to the refugees.

                                         Appendix A
                                   Refugee Movements 1948

                                       QuickTime™ and a
                                are needed to see this picture.

 Source: Suleiman, Jaber, Marginalized Community: The Case of Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon 2007

                   Appendix B
         Current Camp Locations: Lebanon

                     QuickTime™ and a
              are needed to see this picture.

Source: Nurturing Instability: Lebanon’s Palestinian Refugee Camps 2009.

                     Appendix C
            Current Camp Locations: Syria

         Qu ickTim e ™ a n d a
            d e co m p re s s o r
 a re n e e d e d to s e e th is p ictu re .

Source: Shafie, Sherifa. Palestinian Refugees in Syria.FMO Research Guide

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