Saturday, June 9, 2007

Giving Palestinians a future to live for

Despite the messy situation in Nahr al Bared, maybe, just maybe, something good can come out of it. For the first time in recent history, the armed Palestinian factions have sided with the Lebanese army against the ‘infiltrators’ inside the camps and have thus shown to actively support the Lebanese state.

Given that the current fighting is in fact a proxy war directly between Syria and Lebanon, one could even conclude that the Palestinians are placing more faith in Lebanon than in Syria. That’s quite remarkably considering Syria hosts the leader-abroad of Hamas and is suspected of shipping arms to the various militants in Palestine.

What’s perhaps even more remarkable is why not more Palestinians have sided with the Fatah al-Islam and have started fighting against the army of a country that doesn’t really do anything for them. Palestinians cannot travel, cannot own property and are excluded from most jobs in Lebanon. Why would people defend a country that treats them like dirt?

Perhaps it was the change of course of the current government. One of the first decisions Siniora took was to expand the range of economic sectors Palestinians could be working in. At the time, Lahoud and Hezbollah strongly opposed this law because he feared this would chip away at the holy right of return. As if anyone still expects to go back to Palestine…

A more likely reason for his objection would be that the Palestinians can always be used as a tool of pressure by Syria: by heating up the camps, it could pressure Lebanon into compliance. However, now with the Palestinians siding so openly with Lebanon against Syria, this tool seems to have lost its value.

Whatever the reasons for their support in Nahr al Bared, it makes clear that the Palestinians, or at least their leaders, are betting on Lebanon for their future. Let’s not disappoint them. Anyone with a future, a job and a mortgage will not readily take up arms, but people with nothing to loose are obviously quite susceptible to extremists. Let the Palestinians have jobs, let them travel, let them become productive members of the Lebanese society. Sure, let them also retain the right of return, but what if they like it better in Lebanon? Would that really be a problem?

To prevent any unwanted change of the sectarian balance, Lebanon shouldn’t give the Palestinians voting rights and passports. Just treat them like any Arab country treats immigrants: give them a residence and work permit and that’s it. Nothing special, no biggie.

It might not prevent any and all rebellion against Lebanon, but continuing to treat the Palestinians as animals locked up in their camps will surely be less effective. Instead of a past to kill for, Palestinians need a future to live for!


Gianni30 said...

Het artikel is gebaseerd op de veronderstelling dat Syrië achter de groepering Fatah al Islam zit, maar door de uiteenlopende nationaliteiten bij F.A.I. is het eerder denkbaar dat soennieten achter deze groepering zitten. Dit schreef de bekende Amerikaanse onderzoeksjournalist Seymour Hersh in een artikel in de New Yorker van 5 maart 2007: een interessant achtergrondartikel. In het bewuste artikel legt Hersh uit hoe Washington en Saoedi-Arabië betrokken zijn bij clandestiene operaties in Libanon, die bedoeld zijn om de Hezbollah, een door Iran gesteunde Sjiïtische organisatie, te verzwakken. De activiteiten houden verband met een politiek die in Washington bekend staat als een politiek voor het Nieuwe Midden-Oosten en het ondermijnen van Syrië en Iran tot prioritair doel hebben.

jordi said...

Confirmation of your story: out of 32 arrested Fatah Al Islam only one turned out to be Palestinian. This is remarkable since FaI established their base in this Palestinian camp and it could have been attractive for jobless Palestinians to join Fatah al Islam. No job, no future, no hope, nothing to lose. But (apparently) Palestinians didn't join FaI in large numbers.
However, ordinary Palestinians will probably be the biggest loosers again. After this war 40.000 people will find out that they lost (almost) everything they had. No insurance company or Hezbollah to compensate their loss.

Riemer Brouwer said...

The Hersh piece has been criticized heavily by other bloggers. If you read their analyzes, you get the feeling Hersh had really no clue about what he was talking. See e.g.,

As for Syria being behind Fatah al-Islam, you are right, this has not yet been established as a cold hard fact. However, many people see plenty of hints and indications Syria is behind FAI. See, e.g.,

(copy/paste for full link)

wow, this is amazing, i didn't know only 1 Palestinian was among the arrested. Assuming that the same stats apply for the dead, this shows indeed how little support FAI has from the Palestinians.

Harald Doornbos said...

Hey Riemer,
in response to your remarks: What i was referring to are all these bloggers from the US, Australia or Paraguay who all seem to know more about who is behind Fatah al Islam than we - people living here who seriously try to investigate everything.
The whole anti-Bush lobby massively refers to the bla-bla story of Seymour Hersh while supporters of the Lebanese government constantly quote from all kind of bla bla anti-Syria statements. A statement made by Signiora about Syria's involvement doesnt mean anything to me. I interviewed the mayor of Saida last week and he claims the exact opposite. Both sides don't come with any concrete evidence. I want pictures, documents etc. Now it's only opinion, no facts. Personally, I am almost sure that Syria is behind FaI. But again: its' only my opinion, not a fact. But have some good news: Hopefully within a week or two, I might get some real concrete info on FaI. Until then: its up to anybody who to believe. By the way: Joris L sucks! cheers, harald

Robert18 from Israel said...

Complimenten met jouw Blog. Goed indrukken van een nuchtere Hollander i.p.v. d'een of andere hothead over Libanon te kunnen lezen.

Harald: Goed jouw naam weer te zien: Wat is er ooit vorig jaar gebeurd? Je zou me nog bellen, of ging dat niet vanuit Libanon naar Israel?

About your comment, Harald:
What "facts" do you need to be sure that it's Syria and none other than Syria that's behind Fatah al-Islam?

First of all Syria's fingerprints are all over Fatah al-Islam's modus operandi.

Secondly, Fatah al-Islam is a derivative of Fatah al-Intifada, a 25-years old(!) terrorist group that is openly backed, funded, supplied and trained by Syria with an office in Damascus. It is believed that Fatah al-Intifada operates 3 mini-buses to bring IslamoFascist assassins from training camps in Syria to the border with Iraq where they are released with the instructions to blow up Iraqi civilians (seemingly the suicide bombers that blow up American and British soldiers are of Iranian origin).

Shakir al-Abssi, the Fatah al-Islam leader, was, and still is very close with Hamas' Khaled Meshaal. In fact, they not only shared apartments at a given time, but also other pleasures the Quran doesn't permit. Shakir has been a Syrian operative since 1983, and has been and still is the favorite of Bashar al-Assad's brother, Maher, head of the presidential guard, and Bashar’s brother-in-law, Assef Shawqat, head of the feared Syrian secret service, al-Mukhabarat, who has been implicated in organizing the murder of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri and 22 bystanders on 14 February 2005. This assassination was in fact (!) the first important assassination by Shakir and his Fatah al-Islam co-terrorists. The murders of Pierre Amine Gemayel, Kamal Jumblatt, René Moawad, Gebran Tueni, Samir Kassir, Dany Chamoun, Bachir Gemayel, as well as the latest one of Walid Eido (very probably handled by Shakir as well), all bear the same Syrian trademarks.

Walid Moallem, the Syrian Foreign Minister, recently told this funny joke that Shakir has been in prison for 3 years in Syria for treason and an attempted coup d’état. A recent Syrian Press Release states that he left prison (haha) for good behavior having served 2 of 3 years. For treason? In Syria treason means immediate execution. Also, leaving a Syrian prison alive is a rarity: usually prisoners are shot “whilst trying to escape”.
In fact, during “those 2 years in prison” Shakir has been training the 2-300 new recruits of the new Fatah al-Intifada offshoot, Fatah al-Islam.

There is much more proof Syria = Fatah al-Islam.
Interrogations of Fatah al-Islam detainees have given details about a certain Ahmad Mar'i, who serves as a link between Syrian intelligence, Al-Qaeda, and Fatah al-Islam. Mar'i smuggled fighters from Syria into the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp under the supervision of Syrian intelligence. His brother Muhammad Mar'i acknowledged during questioning that his brother had told him of terror operations being planned by Fatah al-Islam, including a bombing against UNIFIL in Lebanon and planned assassinations of so-called anti-Syrian members of the Lebanese Government (hey, you know what happened to Walid and Khalid Eido…..). He also said that Fatah al-Islam's supreme commander is "Abu Talha," a Saudi, who was in Lebanon last month to convey instructions and deliver funds to the organization. Talha is back in Syria (he seems to be scared to return to Baghdad where he has a big villa), where he was recently spotted with Meshaal and a “fat lady” in a black hijab (possibly Nasrallah, because “she” had quite a thick black beard and some headgear sticking out from around “her” covered face), sipping strong black ahwa and lurking on a nargileh in the back of An-Naufara downtown Damascus.

There have been well over 8 interceptions of weapon and people transports from Syria into northern Lebanon. The frightened smugglers squealed like chicken and had SYRIA all over them.

Optionally……. you can also trust and believe blindly Syria’s Press Release, denying any involvement in Eido’s (and any other) assassination; this Press Release has been integrally and without any comment or verification reproduced by all major press agencies, Reuters, UPI, AP, and others (Google for the details), or you can REALLY investigate, which demands more than having horrible sweet tea with a bunch of cowards sitting on a balcony, watching how Arabs murder Arabs.

Good luck.