Improving the living conditions of Palestinian refugees is a Lebanese and international priority

Improving the living conditions of Palestinian refugees is a Lebanese and international priority

Former Lebanese Minister Melhem Riachy shares his thoughts on the current situation in Palestine and the impact it delivers on Palestinians and Lebanese in Lebanon.

When the Palestinians and their cause return to Palestine, they will have returned to the land of their forefathers. This is a situation that should be supported by all who uphold human rights, especially the right of individuals to return to their own country.

For reasons that are perhaps too lengthy to explain in detail here, we have long shared differences with the Palestinians in Lebanon. Primarily, however, they are related to a misunderstanding between our conviction in their cause and our belief that they should be free and honored in their homeland.

Today though, after the various forms of confrontation have moved to their natural place, all must acknowledge that what the Palestinians practice on their land is an act of expression by its rightful owner.

The rights-holder remains oppressed, repressed, hungry, persecuted, and is subjected to daily abuse. The rights-holder knows that the sound of his melancholy voice reverberates across the lands of the Middle East. It resonates within the homes of his loved ones, refugees in Lebanon and beyond, who follow daily, even hourly, events as they unfold in Palestine.

Let us not get carried away by emotions. Let us remind ourselves that their return is the goal and that force, diplomacy, and Arab and international support are the means.

Although scenes of death and oppression are the daily hymn within the neighborhoods of Jerusalem and Ramallah and the olive groves of the West Bank and through to Gaza; I conclude by asserting that improving the conditions of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, especially within the sphere of education, is a Lebanese and international priority.

It falls to our hands to help organize and legalize it to prevent its youth from falling into the grip of terrorism and to deter them from the tools of extremism.

With God’s grace, we should aim to change history through human dignity for any human being in the world, at any time and any place.