by Khaled Abu Toameh
The mistreatment of Palestinians at the hands of the Lebanese authorities always reminds one of those university professors and political commentators living in the U.S. who pretend to be "pro-Palestinian." They focus their attacks on Israel, and ignore the real suffering of the Palestinian people at the hands of Arab countries.As Israeli authorities issued permits last week to hundreds of thousands of West Bank Palestinians to visit Israel, the Lebanese government decided to ban Palestinian refugees fleeing the war in Syria from entering Lebanon.
So while Palestinians are being slaughtered and forced out of their homes in Syria, the Lebanese government is preventing them from entering Lebanon.
The Israeli permits, which were issued on the occasion of the Muslim feast of Eid al-Fitr, enabled hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to visit shopping malls, restaurants and beaches in Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Haifa, Jerusalem and Acre.
But as the West Bank Palestinians were celebrating the feast in Israel, thousands of their brethren found themselves stranded along the border between Syria and Lebanon.
The Wavel refugee camp for Palestinians, near Baalbek in Lebanon. Palestinians fleeing the Syrian civil war have been given shelter in Wavel with the assistance of UNRWA. (Image credit: European Commission DG ECHO)
And as the Palestinians were enjoying their time at the beaches, malls and restaurants in Israel, word came that the number of Palestinians killed in Syria over the past two years has now risen to 1,472.
According to the Palestinian human rights foundation Rasd, the Lebanese decision to ban Palestinian refugees from entering Lebanon is a "violation of the Lebanese international commitments."
The group also expressed its surprise over the Palestinian Authority's "silence" towards the suffering of the Palestinian refugees fleeing from Syria.
The Lebanese ban did not surprise those who have long been following Lebanon's apartheid policies against Palestinians. These policies include laws prohibiting Palestinians from owning property and working in dozens of professions.
Although the Lebanese authorities have not offered any reason for the latest anti-Palestinian move, some Lebanese politicians have expressed fear that the Palestinians would try to "settle" in their country.
More than 70,000 Palestinians are reported to have fled Syria to Lebanon over the past two years.
Other Lebanese politicians have expressed fear that the new Palestinian refugees would pose a threat to their country's national security. These politicians claim that many of the refugees have turned Lebanon's Palestinian refugee camps into bases for Islamic terror groups.
Human rights activists say that most of the Palestinians stranded along the border between Syria and Lebanon are women and children who clearly pose no threat to Lebanon's national security and stability.
The mistreatment of Palestinians at the hands of the Lebanese authorities always reminds one of those university professors and political commentators living in the U.S. who pretend to be "pro-Palestinian."
These professors and columnists rarely utter a word about the apartheid laws enforced by Lebanon against the 450,000 Palestinians living there.
Instead, the "pro-Palestinian" professors and columnists focus their attacks on Israel and ignore the real suffering of Palestinians at the hands of the Lebanese authorities and other Arab countries.
The Palestinian Authority leadership also does not seem to care about the plight of Palestinians in Arab countries.
Abbas and his top officials spent the whole week issuing condemnations of Israeli plans to build new homes in Jewish settlements, completely ignoring the latest Lebanese ban against Palestinian refugees. As far as the Palestinian Authority leadership is concerned, plans to build new housing units are much more serious than the killing or displacing of thousands of Palestinians in Syria and Lebanon.
Khaled Abu Toameh
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