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  The Refugees

 
Chronology

2000

  1. January
  2. March
  3. April
  4. September
  5. October
  6. November
  7. December



January

January 19, 2000 :
The problem of Palestinian refugees is at the center of Lebanese concerns on the eve of the Syrian-israeli negotiations regarding this question (L'Orient-Lejour).


January 26, 2000 :
The Minister of Interior Michel MURR blames certain Palestinian groups for wanting to cause trouble in Lebanon, though he denies the infiltration of Palestinian camps by afghans Muslim fundamentalists or organizations close to the terrorist Oussama Ben Laden ( L'Orient-Lejour).

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March

March 14, 2000 :
According to President Emile LAHOUD, the presence of Palestinians in Lebanon is more of a "military and security problem" rather than a simple question related to refugees. The withdrawal of Israeli troops from the South of Lebanon, expected in June, will not in any way solve the problem of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon (The Daily Star).

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April

April 12, 2000 :
L'Orient-Lejour covered a story on the decay of Palestinian refugees and the daily inhuman conditions in which they live at the Camp of Nahr el-Bared. The newspaper pointed an accusing finger at the UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees) for considerably reducing its budget (L'Orient-Lejour).


April 14, 2000 :
Following the example of President LAHOUD, the Syrian Minister of foreign affairs Farouk EL-CHAREH brought up the question of Palestinian refugees, stating that any solution to the problem is subject to a global framework-agreement (L'Orient-Lejour).

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September

September 9, 2000 :
While a few hundred Palestinian refugees were demonstrating in front of the UN building in Beirut, President Emile LAHOUD declared before 5 British members of Parliament that the region will only find peace if Palestinian refugees are authorized to regain their homeland (The Daily Star).


September 13, 2000 :
The Lebanese Prime Minister Selim Hoss reaffirmed, before the United Nations' General Assembly in New York, his refusal to see Palestinian refugees settling in Lebanon for good (L'Orient-Lejour)


September 14, 2000 :
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine held a protest in front of the Saida camp by burning Israeli and American flags, following the sine die postponement of the proclamation of a Palestinian State as promised by Yasser Arafat and scheduled on September 13 (The Daily Star).


September 16, 2000 :
On the eve of the commemoration of the Sabra and Shatila massacres, a group of human rights activists and members of the Italian parliament brought their support to Palestinian claims to regain their homeland (The Daily Star).


September 19, 2000 :
50 Palestinian refugee students started a hunger strike in front of the UNRWA headquarters demanding the opening of secondary schools in Northern camps. The strike was also carried out to protest against UNRWA's failure to adapt its education services and to reduce its financial support (The Daily Star & L'Orient-Lejour).


September 28, 2000 :
The United States granted additional funds of the amount of 9 million dollars to the UNRWA (Daily Star)

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October

October 2, 2000 :
A demonstration was held by Palestinians from the camps to protest against the Israeli massacres. The slogan was: "We want to return to our homeland, Palestine" (L'Orient-Lejour)

"Olympic day" for Palestinian refugees, organized by three NGOs (The Daily Star)

October 4, 2000 :

Palestinian camps in Lebanon - particularly the one in Ein el Hilweh, the largest in the country - followed closely the developments relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The main outcome of the latter conflict was to reunite once again Palestinians refugees in Lebanon and Palestinians in the homeland ( The Daily Star).


October 7, 2000 :
Two Palestinian refugees from Lebanon were killed and seventeen more injured near the Israeli-Lebanese border. This raised the question of the spread of the conflict in the refugee camps in Lebanon (L'Orient-Lejour).


October 9, 2000 :
L'UNRWA announced its decision to open secondary schools in the Palestinian refugee camps. For months, demonstrations were held in front of the UNRWA headquarters to obtain access to secondary education.


October 10, 2000 :
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues to have repercussions on Palestinian refugees in Lebanon : Palestinian refugees threw a grenade at an Israeli army station at the border in Ramyeh. This was the first serious incident at the border ( L'Orient-Lejour)


October 14, 2000 :
The spokesperson of UNIFEL (United Nations interim forces in Lebanon) encouraged the Lebanese government to reinforce its presence in the South, since it was not up to the UN to prevent Palestinian demonstrations at the border. As for Palestinian refugees from Syria, they also organised protests in a camp near Damascus where they called for Hizbullah to bomb Israel.

Statement of the head of government M. Selim Hoss : " The time has come for the international community to understand that Palestinians are human beings and have rights in their own homeland. They have a right to a State on their territory and refugees have a right to head back home. "


October 16, 2000 :
Although South Lebanon has regained its peacefulness, refugee camps, encouraged by the Islamic Jihad, refugee camps call for the pursuit of the Intifada.


October 19, 2000 :
The Palestinian rebellion has expanded. Demonstrations took place following the Sharm El Sheikh summit. Refugees, along with members of the intellectual elite, marched to the slogan " Zionist terrorism kills our children " ( The Daily Star)


October 21, 2000 :
Palestinian camps expressed their anger after the UNRWA interrupted its services in the region of Saida following the burning of the UN flag by Palestinian radicals in Ein el Hilweh (L'Orient-Lejour).


October 23, 2000 :
UNWRA announced the reopening its schools and health centres. These facilities were shut down a few days ago following an incident involving the admission of 20 over aged refugee students into secondary school (L'Orient-Lejour) .

The reaction of President Emile Lahoud at the Arab summit in Cairo (Saturday and Sunday 21-22 October) regarding the question of Palestinian refugees was the following : "I am certain that the minute Arab states adopt a unified position to insure the return of Palestinian people to their homeland, success will be guaranteed". (Daily Star).

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November


November 2, 2000 :
Close to 300 children from three Palestinian camps in the Tyre region took part in a protest to denounce " the crimes of Israel against childhood " (L'Orient-Lejour).


November 3, 2000 :
Palestinians commemorate the anniversary of the Declaration of Balfour which promised a Jewish home in Palestine. Demonstrations of women and children against " colonialism " were organised as well as educational courses in the schools within the camps (Daily Star).

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December

December 4, 2000 :
Refugees having found asylum in Lebanon complained of government's neglect.
Funding has decreased and since Lebanon has not yet signed the Convention of 1951 concerning the status of refugees, the latter cannot work legally nor be naturalised as Lebanese citizens ( The Daily Star).


December 9, 2000 :
The UNWRA estimated it lacked funds to finance the increasing needs of Palestinian refugees (The Daily Star).


December 19, 2000 :
President Emile Lahoud warned against the permanent settlement of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Diplomatic strategies to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should lead to the progressive return of refugees to Palestine (L'Orient-Lejour and The Daily Star)


December 30, 2000 :
Lebanon is still preoccupied with the durable implantation of Palestinian refugees on its soil. This concern is magnified by the Clinton compromise which aims to grant Palestinian sovereignty on the holy sanctuary in exchange for a renunciation of the return of Palestinian refugees living in Arab countries.

Throughout the months of November and December, many exhibits promoting the Palestinian struggle (such as children's drawings representing the Intifada and commemoration relating to the armed struggle of 1987) were held in the refugee camps in Lebanon.

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