Since the Palestinians are in their vast majority Sunni Moslems, this plan benefits Hariri and the Lebanese Sunnis in the first place since their numbers surge by about 0.5 million - Both the Americans and the Saudis appear behind the idea, which is why they support Hariri. In contrast, the Shiites, who have worked (i.e. terrorized, bombed, kidnapped...) very hard to get themselves heard, will see their rise stunted by that development, which explains the hostility between Iran (Hezbollah's patron) and the West. The Christian Lebanese have been already emasculated by the wars of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, with everyone standing against them (the West, Israel, the Arabs, etc..) indeed to make place for the Palestinians, which explains why they are split right down the middle: Some side with the Sunnis - mostly the traditionalists, the corrupt and former warlords who still think they can reclaim the crumbs of power they once had from under the Saudi robe of Hariri. Others side with the Shiites and Hezbollah - namely Aoun and the FPM, who seem to think they can trick the hardline Shiites long enough to undermine the Sunnis, then effect a comeback for the Christians once both Sunnis and Shiites have been weakened enough by the current hostility.
One way to interpret the current standoff in Lebanon is through this prism of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Two issues remain an obstacle to a Palestinian State: The status of Jerusalem (and Olmert hinted a few months back that Israel would be willing to concede Abu-Dis - the Palestinian East Jerusalem district - to be the future capital of the Palestinian State), and the Right of Return of the millions of Palestinian refugees scattered outside Palestine proper. Lebanon may be the place where the solution to the second obstacle is being played out.
Here is what Joseph Hitti (of the New England Americans for Lebanon organization in Boston, Massachusetts) has proposed:
END THE PLIGHT OF PALESTINIAN REFUGEES IN
RE-DISTRIBUTE THEM TO ARAB COUNTRIES AND COUNTRIES OF EMIGRATION
Joseph Hitti –
· Both the Arab world and the West are to blame for the plight of the Palestinian refugees
· The history of western anti-Semitism ultimately led to the creation of
· All Arab countries have abused their Palestinian refugee populations for political motives
· The refugee camps in
· In order to end the terrible plight that these refugees have lived for the past 60 years, and until their final status is determined between
- WEST BANK: the Palestinian Authority should re-settle those refugees who wish to return to
- ARAB COUNTRIES: The 21 Arab Member States of the Arab League should, each in proportion to its population density, accept the re-settlement of those refugees who wish to do so. A quota system may be adopted such that the largest and wealthiest countries re-settle larger numbers of refugees than smaller and poorer countries.
- THE WEST: The traditional countries of emigration - US, Canada, Mexico, Central and Latin America, Australia, and New Zealand as well as those European countries who were directly responsible for the genesis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (e.g. Germany, the UK, etc.) – should offer to permanently settle on a quota basis those of the refugees who elect to do so.
· The Palestinian refugee problem is not
· It is time for the world to unburden
- Give the refugees a chance for a better life
to finally be on the track of recovery, and Lebanon
- Contribute to the final resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.