On 14 May 1948 the State of Israel is proclaimed. The following day, 15 May, known as Nakba (The Catastrophe), thousands of Palestinians are forced into exile, leaving behind their homes and land. Somewhere in the area of 800,000 Palestinians flee their country as it is colonised and take refuge in makeshift camps in the West Bank, Gaza and neighbouring countries. On 10 June 1967, after Israeli forces started the Six Day War, the Sinai, Gaza, the West Bank (and East Jerusalem) and Golan Heights all fall under occupation. More than 300,000 additional Palestinians flee toward Jordan. Some of them have been refugees since 1948 while others will wear the title for the first time.
Nearly the entire population of the valley of Jordan, bordering Jordan, will flee their homes. In this way more than one million refugees are forced to relocate to camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and Gaza. A status accorded them by the UN recognises their and their descendants' right of return.
As of today's date there are more than 5 million Palestinian refugees.
Palestinian refugees of Lebanon:
There are nearly 500,000 Palestinian refugees scattered across Lebanon. Roughly half of this population lives in the country's 12 refugee camps. They do not have Lebanese nationality and are thus excluded from the country's healthcare system and from holding certain professions. Living conditions in the camps are precarious and discrimination at the hands of the Lebanese army is common. For several years now, refugees fleeing Syria (Palestinians as well as Syrian nationals) have joined the ranks of those already in the Lebanese camps.
The Ein el-Hilweh camp, established in 1948, is the largest in the country. Located in south Lebanon in the city of Saïda and comprising less than 2km², it is home to 100,000 refugees.
Palestinian Youth Center :
The Palestinian community has organised in hopes of obtaining better living conditions at the refugee camps.
Such has been the history of the Palestinian Youth centers that have taken form in many of Lebanon's refugee camps. The centres set out to work with the children and adolescents of the camps and propose educational activities, sports and mentor programmes. They also serve a political role, endeavouring to keep the Palestinian people's history alive and to maintain Palestinians' right of return. The centers are mixed (men/women) and serve not only Palestinian refugees but Lebanese nationals and Syrian refugees as well.
Solidarity is our weapon :
The question of a return to the homeland of refugees is a crucial part of the liberation of Palestine from apartheid and colonisation. Supporting Palestinian refugees and getting the word out about their situation forms part of the broader effort to support the Palestinian people in their struggle for self-determination.
The anti-imperialist group Coup Pour Coup 31 calls on every organisation, group and individual friend of the cause of Palestinian people to join the campaign to support the Palestinian Youth Center :
-By taking part in fundraising that will provide the means to purchase new material and maintain the group's spaces.
-By joining in solidarity action with the Palestinian Youth Center of the Ein el-Hilweh camp.
Campaign in Facebook : HERE