'Palestinian refugees' leaving Lebanon en masse

Half the "Palestinian refugees" in Lebanon have emigrated abroad. Hamas official fears the phenomenon will affect the "right of return".

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Dalit Halevi,

Ain el-Hilweh "Palestinian refugee camp" in Lebanon
Ain el-Hilweh "Palestinian refugee camp" in Lebanon
Reuters

The number of “Palestinian refugees” in Lebanon has decreased significantly over the past few years and many are leaving for other countries to try to improve their situation.

In an interview with the Hamas newspaper Palestine on Thursday, Hamas’s representative in Lebanon Ali Baraka said that some 260,000 “Palestinian refugees” had left the refugee camps in Lebanon to various countries in recent years because of the difficult security and economic conditions.

According to him, the figures he cited are based on a poll conducted by the Lebanese authorities and which indicates that there is a deliberate action to bring about the emigration of Palestinian refugees from countries bordering Israel.

"The Zionist enemy is working in this way to empty the refugee camps and to destroy the foundation for the right of return," Baraka claimed.

He further argued that this emigration should be dealt with through activities to improve the situation in the camps and through assistance from UNRWA to ensure stability in the camps prior to the return of the “refugees” to “Palestine”.

According to the data of the director of the Shahad Institution, Mahmoud Al-Hanafi, over 45 percent of the “Palestinian refugees” have emigrated from Lebanon and only 280,000 remain in Lebanon today. According to another version of the data, only 200,000 Palestinians remain in Lebanon. Hanafi noted that poverty, denial of work and security instability contribute to an increase in the phenomenon.

There are thousands of people registered as Palestinian refugees in Israel’s neighboring countries, including Lebanon and Syria, where they have been caught in the Syrian civil war.

Palestinian refugees in Lebanon have limited work options and are refused citizenship.

In recent years, the refugee camps in Lebanon have been the scene of armed clashes between rival groups, resulting in the deaths of some refugees.








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