About two years ago, a battle broke out between the Lebanese army and the militant group Fatah al-Islam in the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared in northern Lebanon. The summer-long battle concluded in September 2007 and the camp was totally destroyed — the rubble indicating that the destruction was systematic, most likely committed by the Lebanese army. After several delays, the UN-mandated core of the camp, the so-called “old camp,” has meanwhile been cleared of approximately 600,000 meters of rubble. Yet, reconstruction hasn’t begun and residents are still unable to enter the old camp, the access of which is controlled by the Lebanese army, and displaced refugees are increasingly resentful. Ray Smith reports. Read more about Two years later, no reconstruction in Nahr al-Bared
BEIRUT (IRIN) - Deminers in south Lebanon clearing hundreds of thousands of unexploded Israeli-dropped cluster bomb submunitions will lose two-thirds of their teams this year unless a drastic funding shortfall is addressed. The shortfall could mean that the mostly agricultural land will not be cleared of deadly ordnance for eight years or more. Read more about Funding cuts threaten cluster bomb demining
On 1 March 2008, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon came into effect pursuant to the request of the Lebanese government and United Nations Security Council resolutions 1644 and 1757. The trial is intended to bring to justice to those who carried out the assassination of former Prime Minister of Lebanon Rafiq Hariri and 22 others. Sami Halabi comments for Electronic Lebanon. Read more about Lebanon's empty notion of justice
BEIRUT (IRIN) - Waning international interest and funding is harming efforts to rid southern Lebanon of its hundreds of thousands of remaining cluster bomblets, posing a continuing threat to farmers and children, according to mine clearance organizations. Read more about Funding struggle slowing cluster bomb clearance in south
Like much of the world press, Israel’s war on Gaza dominates the headlines in Lebanon. Massive protests in Beirut, particularly at the Egyptian embassy, took place. In an address to the tens of thousands of demonstrators, Hizballah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah called, among other things, for ordinary Egyptians to open up the crossing at the Egypt-Gaza border by force and in defiance of government security forces. Nasrallah’s explicit condemnation of the Egyptian regime and the stern response by Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit reflects the long-term impact of the Gaza war on the dynamics of regional alliances playing out in Lebanon. Read more about Meet the Lebanese Press: Gazing towards Gaza
BEIRUT (IRIN) - It was the summer of 1982 when Zahira Najjar, 66, last saw her son Abdallah, then 17 years old. The family was in Bhamdoun, a mountain resort east of Beirut, at the height of Lebanon’s 15-year civil war. Only Syrian forces were on the ground when Abdullah went to find transport to the capital to get his wounded leg seen to, Najjar said. She has seen and heard nothing of him since. “I can’t describe my feelings. A mother’s heart cries blood,” Najjar said, pulling a black-and-white photograph of the youth from her wallet. Read more about Families of the disappeared seek answers
Civil strife usually ends when there is truth and reconciliation. In Lebanon, it subsides when a truce poses as reconciliation. Top Lebanese leaders are doting over each other, calling for a new pact of political rivalry that is confined to the arena of democratic and peaceful confrontation. Meetings between top March 14 and March 8 officials have calmed fears of further clashes on the streets. With the notable exception of Christian leaders, all sectarian heads are trying to unite their ranks in the run up to next year’s parliamentary elections. Meet the Lebanese Press is The Electronic Intifada’s regular review of what is making the rounds in the Lebanese press and the pundits’ take on it. Read more about Meet the Lebanese Press: Strategic defense or strategic shift?
More than a year after their homes were destroyed during the battle between the Lebanese army and the militant Islamist group Fatah al-Islam, the majority of the Palestinian refugees from the Nahr al-Bared camp in northern Lebanon find themselves in a difficult situation. Not able to return to their homes, stuck in pre-fabricated housing units and mostly unemployed, many feel frustrated and hopeless that things will improve. Read more about Video: "Nahr al-Bared: Transitions"
NAHR AL-BARED (IRIN) - As he picked plastics and paper off the rubble-filled conveyor belt, Issam Sayyed indicated to a white house behind him pock-marked with bullet holes and with its roof caved in. “That’s my home,” said the father of nine, a Palestinian refugee displaced from the Nahr al-Bared camp in northern Lebanon, which was ruined in a 15-week war last year between the army and Islamist insurgents. Read more about Life set to get harder for Nahr al-Bared refugees
One year has passed since the first Palestinians were allowed to return to the outskirts of the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, destroyed by the Lebanese army during three months of fighting in the summer of 2007 with Fatah al-Islam, a small Islamist militant group. This 16-minute film was produced in a small workshop in the camp. It deals with the current developments in Nahr al-Bared, focusing on economic aspects and on the reconstruction efforts. Read more about Video: "Nahr al-Bared, between past and present"