Lebanon has removed some of the draconian restrictions on Palestinians in the country, allowing them to work for the first time.
But it’ll only apply to Palestinians born in Lebanon, only if they’re under 57, and only in some manual labour and clerical jobs in the private-sector. They still wont be allowed to go anywhere near government jobs like medicine, law and engineering. And they still wont be allowed to build a house.
The announcement came from the Shia Labour Minister Trad Hamadeh, a friend of Hizbollah.
They were not allowed to work, or gain citizenship in case they upset the country’s delicate sectarian balance. They were only allowed to seek work within their refugee camps.
But there are whiffs of self-serving motivations here. Many Syrians were doing private-sector menial jobs in Lebanon, but tens of thousands fled after the threats and attacks in the wake of Rafiq Al-Hariri’s murder. Construction sites virtually ground to a halt soon after. So are Palestinians are the new Syrians?