RAMALLAH, July 19 (JMCC) - The vote to grant the right to work to Palestinian refugees in Lebanon is currently too close to call, even as the most serious debate ever held in Lebanon on this subject builds momentum, writes Frank Lamb in al-Ahram Weekly
If last week's hero in the Palestinian refugee camps was the Druze MP Walid Jumblatt, this week's hero is Al-Hariri. The political sands in the Lebanese parliament and cabinet continue to shift, as regional powers weigh in and in the absence of reliable vote pledges. In the parliamentary vote to grant civil rights to the Palestinian refugees, 65 votes are needed among MPs from a total of 128.Read
A main argument that continues to be made by Lebanese MPs who oppose granting civil rights to Lebanon's Palestinians is that allowing them privileges would lead to their naturalisation and settlement. By this, it is meant that the refugees might get too comfortable in Lebanon and not want to return to Palestine. This is a false, but potent, shibboleth as many academic and NGO studies have shown. Unfortunately, it continues to resonate given Lebanon's current political atmosphere, particularly within Lebanon's Christian community.
the rest of the opinion piece at al-Ahram