AJE: Palestinian refugees escape Syria violence

Posted: August 29, 2012 by Rex Brynen in Lebanon, Syria, UNRWA

al-Jazeera English features a report (26 August 2012) on the situation of Palestinian refugees in Syria who have fled to neighbouring Lebanon:

The UN Relief and Works Agency has said there are around 500,000 Palestinians living in Syria, many of whom fled their homeland due to the decades-old territorial dispute with Israel. The UN says 1,000 Palestinians left their homes in Syria in July, and that number has risen now to 3,000 as fighting intensifies in the capital. Many Palestinians caught in the Syrian crossfire are fleeing across the border to Lebanon, a country already home to more than 400,000 Palestinian refugees where the newcomers feel unwelcome. Al Jazeera’s James Bays reports from Bekaa Valley, Lebanon.

While the piece highlights the very real challenge facing Palestinian refugees trying to flee Syria to Lebanon (or, for that matter, to Jordan), it does a very poor job of contextualizing matters. While I have been a  very strident critic of Lebanese government policy towards Palestinians—and, indeed, towards refugees more generally—it seems pointless to an air a report that offers no insight into Lebanese policy or attitudes, including the widespread fear of permanent Palestinian settlement. Similarly, UNRWA’s position is poorly, inadequately, and inaccurately explained.

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