Palestinians banned from working in Lebanon

Palestinians banned from working in Lebanon
Feature: Many Palestinians in Lebanon are unable to work professionally and are forced to labour on street stalls, writes Intisar Dannan.
2 min read
01 June, 2015
Many professional Palestinians are forced to work as street vendors [AFP]

Palestinian doctors and engineers and many other professions in Lebanon are banned from practicing their chosen career.

Abu Ali lives in the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp in Saida, South Lebanon. The 54-year-old is an engineer with a master's degree in meteorology from Turkey.

After finishing university, the meteorological engineer worked in Turkey for two years. After the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon he returned to join the Palestinian resistance.

He then lived in the Ain al-Hilweh camp where he grew up, and became another Palestinian refugee barred from practicing his profession in Lebanon.

     If they have a job, it's selling falafels.
- Abu Ali on the situation of Palestinian doctors in Lebanon

Abu Ali now sells second-hand clothes and shoes on Fawqani Street in Ain al-Hilweh. Nothing about him suggests he is an engineer.

"My scientific training is very specialised. It relates to radars that monitor air traffic and weather conditions," he said.

Abu Ali said there were more than 400 Palestinian engineers selling produce on carts in the camp, and more than 600 unemployed Palestinian doctors in Lebanon.

"If they have a job, it's selling falafels," he said. 

The meteorologist explained that Palestinians in Lebanon live in constant worry and sorrow, with no social life or civil rights. 

"The lack of work drives Palestinians to despair and deprives them of their right to be human beings," he said. 

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.