with friends on the street, games in motion until the violence came upon them, while elder family members sat inside their homes not knowing the violence on the way. Two full daysof horrific brutality.Lebanon’s Christian Maronite President Bachir Gemayel was assassinated. Enraged ChristianPhalangists, allied to Israel, planned to enact violent revenge against the remaining civilianPalestinians in West Beirut; who they suspected, wrongly, of making the kill. On the 16th of September, the Phalange militia’s descended on the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra andShatila. Israeli forces who invaded Lebanon months earlier manned the perimeters, shot flaresto illuminate the camp area at night time and sealed off any escape routes by fleeingresidents.Throughout the years politics has sabotaged any justice for the victims and missing. Noaccountability has been attributed – Sharon? Genocide law? The remaining men weresnatched from the camps by the Israeli army and ‘questioned’ in the Stadium nearby; theseare the missing. Gaza Hospital on the edge of the camps dealt with the dying amid scenes of crazed panic.Today Sabra and Shatila still stands, but more impoverished and overcrowded, isolated fromthe modern glitzy Beirut beyond its checkpoints.Omar tells me what life is like for the residents today.
Hi Omar, can you tell me how Beirut is today for you? You are a student, where do youstudy?
I study at Beirut Arab University where most of the Palestinian students study, it’s in Beirut.Some of the Lebanese have no idea about the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. They think welive in tents and a little of them they don’t know that there are Palestinian refugee camps inLebanon! The camp is a poor neighbourhood while Beirut is the capital of Lebanon with talltowers and rich neighbourhoods, so we feel of the class struggle.
Do you think there is a climate of fear in Beirut today between different factions andpeople?
Sure, especially after the revolution in Syria and after the situation became worst there, nowthe Lebanese parties are divided, some of them support Al Asad while others support therevolutionary. That’s creates a kind of fear here.
Do you think Lebanese youth are inclusive of Palestinian youth, or are they distant? Arethe Palestinian refugee camps very isolated from other communities in Beirut?
I can say that the Lebanese youth in general still distant from the Palestinian youth inLebanon. Because of the Lebanese army check points in front of the Palestinian camps andthe legal discrimination against us we forced to be isolated from people here.
What do you think of Mahmoud Abbas attempts to get UN statehood for Palestine?Where do you see the future of Palestine going? Have you ever been to your homeland?
I understand Abbas and PLO attempts but it doesn’t satisfy our demands, the Palestinianstatehood is going to be on the 1967th borders (Gaza strip, West Bank and east Jerusalem),while we are from North Palestine ! Which it is today Israel! The Palestinian statehood (Gaza