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Palestinians Angered with Decisions of Lebanon’s Labor Ministry

Palestinians Angered with Decisions of Lebanon’s Labor Ministry

Friday, 19 July, 2019 - 08:30
The Shatila Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of Beirut. (AFP)
Beirut - Youssef Diab

Assurances by the Lebanese Minister of Labor, Camille Abu Sleiman, did not succeed in alleviating the anger of the Palestinian refugees, who rejected his recent decision to crackdown on foreign workers who do not hold a work permit.

Calls through loudspeakers inside the camps asked for the resumption of street movements and expressed Palestinian anger over the minister’s insistence on his decision.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on his compatriots to calm down and allow the Palestinian Authority to discuss the issue with the Lebanese government.

In a press conference on Thursday, Abu Sleiman vowed to facilitate the granting of work permits for Palestinian refugees, saying that the “Lebanese labor law protects Palestinian workers.”

He noted that his ministry’s plan was not specifically directed at Palestinians, but sought to combat undocumented labor in accordance with Lebanese labor law, which requires non-Lebanese workers to have work permits.

Meanwhile, senior Palestinian official Azzam al-Ahmad met in Beirut with MP Bahia Hariri, the head of al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc, with whom he discussed the repercussions of the Labor Ministry’s new measures.

Al-Ahmad emphasized that contacts were underway to contain the crisis and prevent any escalation or attempts to exploit it to undermine the country’s stability.

“This issue cannot be resolved except by dialogue. President Mahmoud Abbas was clear in his speech during the meeting of the Executive Committee. He asked me to come to Lebanon to discuss the matter with the concerned Lebanese officials,” he added.

Bahia Hariri, for her part, underlined that Prime Minister Saad Hariri was working closely with the labor minister, adding that an agreement was reached on a rapid mechanism that would take into account the specificity of the Palestinians, as stated in the labor law.

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