Saturday, August 24, 2019

Lebanon hosts ‘anti-Manama’ summit and conferences in support of Palestine


By Patty Diphusa - June 27, 2019
TAGS:
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [US foreign policy] [Peace Process]

In the wake of the Manama Summit held 25 - 26 June to discuss Trump’s so-called “Deal of the Century”, Lebanon has become the centre of Arab rejection to the US-led “peace” proposal.


On June 21 Beirut hosted the conference “Journalists in Face of Deal of Century”. As Al Manar reported, the event was attended by a number of Lebanese, Palestinian, Syrian and other Arab journalists, activists and political representatives and called on journalists from all over the Arab world to joint efforts in resisting the US initiative ultimately aiming at “wiping out the Palestinian cause”. 


After arriving last week to Lebanon, Hamas representatives have been holding meetings with various mayors from across the country and have been visiting towns encountering groups supporters of the party.

 

On 23 June, Member of the Lebanese Parliament Nadim Gemayel tweeted: “Mr Kushner, you need to realise that we did not offer tens of thousands of martyrs for tens of billions of dollars to settle Palestinians and others in Lebanon. Lebanon is not a real estate company”.

 

On 24 June, representatives of both Palestinian factions and Lebanese parties released a joint statement insisting that the US plan to maintain over 5.2 million Palestinian refugees outside from their homeland is a “new fragmentation of the Arab region” and sparks “grave dangers to both the Palestinian cause and host countries”. 

 

A rally was held on 25 June at the Burj al-Barajneh camp in the periphery of Beirut. The protest was called by the Palestine Liberation Organization in rejection with the conference that was taking place at the same time in Manama. 

 

Representatives of a variety of Palestinians factions attended the demonstration as did members of Lebanese Hezbollah.

 

Protests were also held across the West Bank and Gaza Strip against the Bahrain summit. 


In an interview with Palestine Monitor at the demonstration held June 25 at the Israeli Bet El settlement in Ramallah, protester Khalil insisted the relevance of the events taking place in Lebanon are “very important for us in achieving Arab unity". 


“The standard of Arab public (regarding Palestine) is different from the standard of regimes such as Saudi Arabia and the Emirates,” Khalil stated. 


Lebanon is host to a great number of Palestinian refugees. Although estimates vary in different reports, the last census of Palestinian population carried out by the Lebanese Government concluded that the number rises up to 175,000 individuals. 


According to Al Jazeera, only a “few years ago” Palestinians in the country made up to 450,000 and that the number has fallen as these refugees tend to leave Lebanon both legally and illegally pressured by Government regulations that deny them basic human rights. 


Distribution of political power in Lebanon is tied to the 18 religious sects recognised in the country and the alleged affiliations each of them have. While the parliament is divided equally between Muslims and Christians, under the post-civil war agreement of Taif in 1989, the President must be a Maronite Christian, the Prime Minister a Sunni Muslim and the speaker of the Parliament a Shia Muslim. 


As The National reports, the vast majority of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are Sunni Muslims and the possible grant of citizenship could alter the fragile balance in Lebanese politics.

 

 

Lead image: A tyre is burned a protest at the Bet El settlement near Ramallah, with a sign saying "occupation must dissapear". Image credit: Naomi Kundera.

 

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