Lebanon: Palestinians Mark 12 Anniversary of Arafat’s Death
Burj Barajneh Camp, Beirut, Lebanon 13/11/2016
Thousands of Palestinians held a procession inside Beirut’s Burj al Barajneh camp to commemorate 12 years without Arafat.
The occasion marks a celebration of the Palestinian leader’s life as well as a bereavement for his death. For the Palestinians living in the camps, Arafat’s untimely death brings up feelings of both great loss and anger at the same time.
Arafat is sorely missed here as his passing destabilised the political, security and social base of the camps – previously held together under his unifying banner for Palestinians of all walks of life. He was a father figure and remains the uncontested leader and symbol of the Palestinian struggle.
The conditions of the Palestinians in Lebanon are also worse off since his death.
Around 53 per cent of the Palestine refugees in Lebanon live in the 12 recognized Palestine refugee camps, all of which suffer from serious problems, including poverty, overcrowding, unemployment, poor housing conditions and lack of infrastructure. Three other camps were destroyed during the course of the Lebanese Civil War, while a fourth was evacuated many years ago.
Yasser Arafat died in a Paris hospital in 2004 as a result of sudden deterioration in his health. The cause of his death is still unknown, but according to the Sec. Gen. of Fatah Movement in Lebanon, Mr. Samir Abu Afash, the name of Arafat’s killers will be revealed on the 29th of this month during the Movement’s 7th General Conference in Ramallah, West Bank.
Palestine refugees represent an estimated ten per cent of the population of Lebanon. They do not enjoy several important rights; for example, they cannot work in as many as 20 professions. Because they are not formally citizens of another state, Palestine refugees are unable to claim the same rights as other foreigners living and working in Lebanon, where the highest percentage of Palestine refugees live in abject poverty.