Baddawi Refugee Camp

Ready to return with nothing

It took over three months, but in the end the Lebanese army claimed victory over Fatah al-Islam, the previously unheard of non-Palestinian, al-Qaida-inspired group that had established itself in the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon. On Tuesday, 4 September 2007, outside the entrance to the destroyed camp the Lebanese army massed together to begin what would be a 10-hour-long parade from Nahr al-Bared to Beirut just over 50 miles away. EI editor Matthew Cassel reports from Lebanon. 

Refugees, again

In June 2006, Dr. Tawfiq Assad stepped out of the seaside Rafiq Hariri airport in Beirut and took a deep breath of the Mediterranean air. It wasn’t home but it was as close to it as he had ever been. Dr. Assad returned to Lebanon to visit family and friends for what he thought would only be a few weeks’ stay. A Palestinian refugee himself, Dr. Assad’s story is not uncommon. His family was forced from their home in Nazareth during the Nakba in 1948 when the Zionist armies invaded to make way for the Jewish state. 

"They see us all as criminals"

Standing at the entrance to Nahr al-Bared Camp a week ago in the still, oppressive heat waiting with Fatme for her sister and her nieces to be evacuated, we watched as two large army trucks emerged from the camp. Though the backs of the trucks were covered with tarpaulin and soldiers forbade the assembled journalists from filming, as the trucks roared by we could see that each contained about thirty men and boys, handcuffed, some blindfolded, most with their heads bent down towards their laps. Caoimhe Butterly describes the experiences of Nahr al-Bared refugees who have been arrested, beaten and humiliated by Lebanese forces. 

To be Palestinian in Lebanon is to be wished a thousand deaths

1 June 2007 — In the Lebanese daily An-Nahar, on 31 May, there was a single story that only reported the details of the deaths of Lebanese soldiers. The official number from the Lebanese army over last weekend was a resounding one civilian death. By denying Palestinian civilian deaths we effectively commit a double crime: The first is the indiscriminate death of the victim; the second is the denial of this original crime. I suppose the victim is meant to carry a camera and document her own death to truly confirm it in the public’s eyes. EI contributor Sami Hermez comments. 

Reporting from the front: Interviews with PLO spokesman in Lebanon and PFLP official (Part 1)

“We were supportive of the Lebanese army because an illegitimate group was imposed on Nahr al-Bared and on the Lebanese sphere. It attacked the Lebanese army, which led to the murder of 30 soldiers. This necessitated a stand next to the Lebanese army because the honor of the Palestinian people is intertwined with that of the Lebanese.” Jackson Allers and Rasha Moumneh interview Hajj Rif’at, Director of Media for Fatah and the spokesperson for the PLO in Lebanon in the first of a two-part series. 

Reporting from the front: Interviews with PLO spokesman in Lebanon and PFLP official (Part 2)

“Honestly, the first day there was sympathy for the soldiers that were killed. But after the shelling started we felt that the targets were not Fatah al-Islam, but rather the Nahr al-Bared camp. … At the end of the day, there is a people that is being shelled and people are dying.” Jackson Allers and Rasha Moumneh interview PFLP official and Treasurer of the Committee for the Festival of Right of Return in the second of a two-part series.