Lebanon proposes to rebuild the Palestinian city-camp Nahr al-Bared, which was previously pulverized in a long siege, to preserve the memories of the old, yet return the area to Lebanese control.
My first blog post for this project was back in December.... the first day I arrived in Beirut, the town was shut down for the funeral of assassinated army General Francois al Hajj, the man almost certain to replace General Michel Suleiman who had been slated as the most suitable (read: least divisive) candidate for president.
An estimated 300,000 Palestinians have found their way to Lebanon, where they make up 10% of the population. Many have trouble finding jobs and buying property, so they're left to find economic advantages where they can. Don Duncan reports.
Palestinian refugees are beginning to return to the Nahr el Bared refugee camp, 10 months after it was reduced to rubble in a battle between the Lebanese army and Muslim terrorists holed up inside.
"We want to go back now," said Nael Abu Siam, 40, a Palestinian displaced by the conflict. "We have everything there — memories of births, our friends, our houses, even our kids' toys."
Mr. Siam now lives in a school room in a nearby camp and awaits a call to move back to Nahr el Bared.
The past several months have been Lebanon's coldest winter in 25 years, and Hanin Rafae is struggling to keep her family warm. Since her home has no fireplace, she and her five sons and six daughters huddle nightly around a fire on the patio overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
Nael Abu Siam is struggling to keep reality at bay for his children. Ten months ago, his home was destroyed in a conflict between Lebanese soldiers and radical Islamic militants at the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in northern Lebanon.
"First I told them that nothing has changed, just that we change houses to repair the first one," said the 40-year Palestinian refugee.
This has been Lebanon's coldest winter in 25 years and Rafae Rafae and her family are struggling to make ends meet. Their home, in the village of Bibneen in the North, is not equipped for such harsh weather. There is no fireplace, so when evening begins to draw in, Rafae lights a fire outside on the patio and huddles around it with her five sons and six daughters. They talk and pass the time, looking down the hill from their village at the Mediterranean below as it fades into the night.
Rabie Taha's first sign of hope has arrived: 300 prefabricated homes that families are moving into this week on a lot at Nahr al-Bared, the Palestinian refugee camp largely destroyed in fighting last summer between Lebanese soldiers and radical Islamic militants.
Correspondents Don Duncan and Andrea De Marco report on efforts to help Palestinian refugees return to Nahr al-Bared.
Reproduced with permission from The Christian Science Monitor.
BEIRUT, Lebanon -- Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, a staunch U.S. ally, has confirmed that a Lebanese military investigation is underway following allegations that Palestinians living in the country's Nahr al-Bared refugee camp were beaten by Lebanese soldiers, and their homes looted and torched, in the aftermath of last summer's battle between Islamist militants in the camp and the Lebanese army.
A car bomb struck an American Embassy vehicle in Beirut yesterday, killing at least three bystanders and wounding a Lebanese Embassy employee in the first direct attack on U.S. interests in Lebanon in 20 years.
An estimated 20 people, including an American passer-by, were injured in the attack on the armored embassy sport utility vehicle, which Lebanese officials immediately linked to a wave of attacks on governing party legislators.