The Lebanese government and Palestinian leaders have struck a quiet deal that would grant a new legal status to at least 3,000 Palestinians living in Lebanon without any identity documents, The Daily Star has learned. The plan was approved at a meeting last Friday that included representatives from the Interior Ministry, General Security, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee (LPDC) and the Palestine Liberation Organization, PLO consul in Lebanon Mahmoud al-Asabi said.
As I hunched over a borrowed desk in the sixth floor office of Beirut's Daily Star yesterday afternoon, it may have been the computer's pale glow that warmed my face, but the joyful, smoldering embers of my heart came from a warmth only a reporter knows: I had a front page scoop.
It was a small story by world standards, affecting only about 3,000 Palestinian refugees. But it had regional implications and I was proud at having wrested it from the pressed lips of PLO officials and the leaden silence of the country's bureaucats.
Don Duncan reports on how a quasi duty-free zone has brought Lebanon's local population together with the half million Palestinians living in the country.
Total running time = 3:36
I thought it was time for some video around here!
Here are glimpses of two kinds of living spaces the Nahr al Bared refugees are and will inhabit.
Nahr al Bared has two parts to it. The Old Camp, to the west, was the original land the refugees arrived to in the late forties/early fifties was the worst hit and still remains closed off to. (In the sat image, the old camp is on the left, where the yellow traces are concentrated.)
The voice of fugitive militant leader Shakir al-Abssi arose like a specter from Lebanon's recent past yesterday. In a voice recording posted on the Internet, the radical leader of the Fatah al-Islam terrorist group threatened further attacks against the nation's U.S.-backed army.
In May, entrenched in the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp, the Jordanian-born al-Abssi led his Fatah al-Islam militants, which included many non-Palestinians, in a 15-week battle that tested the Lebanese national army and destroyed the refugee camp.
Two United Nations peacekeeping soldiers were injured Tuesday by a roadside bomb on a coastal motorway south of Beirut.
Company Sgt. Dave Williams and regimental Sgt. Maj. John McCormack, both from Dublin, Ireland, were traveling in a U.N. vehicle when the bomb exploded at 2:50 p.m. local time, causing them "superficial injuries," according to Irish Lt. Col. Eamon O'Siochrú, head of the Irish team that is part of United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
I spent almost all day among the Nahr al Bared refugees who are staying in temporary shelter in schools and community buildings at Baddawi camp in
Beddawi is the closest Palestinian camp to Nahr al Bared and so received many of the refugees fleeing the conflict when it broke out in May.
The international press made big bones of the fact that the world's powers, gathered in Paris yesterday, pledged almost $2bn more for the creation of a Palestinian state than the Palestinians had requested or indeed expected.
All summer, the conflict at Nahr al Bared between the Lebanese Army and the Islamic militants Fatah al Islam raged on. And while reminders of the ongoing fight showed up across the country on roadside banners of support for the Army and in the almost daily press updates and soldier body counts, in Beirut – where I was based – the trouble felt very remote – it was happening "up there," meaning the city of Tripoli 85km north.