Yesterday was the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, when three quarters of a million Palestinians were forced to leave their homes. Some 100,000 Palestinians fled to Lebanon and, with their descendants, have been prevented ever since from returning. The residents of the camps are condemned to poverty, marginalisation and ill-health. This community has also endured the horrors of the Lebanese Civil War, including massacres and further displacement, disappearances, hunger and so much more besides.
The Palestinians of Lebanon are of course just one segment of the Palestinian refugee diaspora. There are now 5 million Palestinian refugees registered with UNRWA, in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. They all continue to suffer the hardships and lack of dignity associated with being refugees.
With the death toll in Gaza rising to sixty yesterday, with the totally unnecessary slaughter met with indifference by self-described “Christians” and fellow Moslems, at least this follower of Epicurus and his friends, unable to be of practical help except to send money, know the history of the Nakba and acknowledge and mourn the losses suffered 70 years ago and every day since. The crass election-driven policy of the American government has only worsened a terrible problem, blamed exclusively, of course, on Hamas and the Palestinians.
I have seen a Palestinian refugee camp. A glimpse was enough. It was a shock. The place was a total dump. Nobody should be condemned to live like it. To discuss the Israeli-Palestinian issue and do it justice would take too long, except to say that those who have turned their backs on these poor people should be deeply ashamed. The Palestinian leaders are not faultless, but their people do not deserve to be virtually imprisoned and killed when they protest. No human beings deserve it….further words fail me. (Inspired by comments made by Aimee Shalan, Chief Executive of Medical Aid to Palestinians)