"I was stunned by the refugee camps in Lebanon," said Ghassan Khatib, Yasser Arafat's Minister of Labor in an interview with the Beirut Daily Star. "Even in camps in Gaza and Nablus in the occupied territories, the situation is better than that of the camps in Lebanon."
Khatib met with Lebanese President Emile Lahoud to plead for easing the living and working conditions for Arabs from Samaria and the Galilee living in Lebanon.
The paper notes that the estimated 400,000 refugees living in Lebanon are not granted basic civic rights by the Lebanese government, are barred from erecting permanent homes and are not allowed to engage in various professions.
Khatib also insisted that the PA has not given up on the refugee issue. "It is an issue of utmost importance to us," he said. "We are 100% sure that their right to return will be met. There is no doubt about that, regardless of how much time it might take."