Palestinians Hold General Strike at Refugee Camps against Lebanese Labor Regulations
The week-long general strike at the majority of Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon continued in protest against the Labor Ministry’s crackdown on foreign workers who do not hold a work permit.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Speaker Nabih Berri and the Hezbollah party urged Labor Minister Camille Abu Suleiman to exempt Palestinian workers from the crackdown, but to no avail.
The Labor Ministry and deputies and leading figures from the Lebanese Forces asserted that the law should be implemented on all foreign workers, without exception.
Palestinian leaderships are meanwhile, counting on cabinet to issue a decision that would end the crisis, which has been fueling tensions at refugee camps.
The government meetings have, however, been put on hold since early June, pending a solution to a crisis over demands to refer to the Judicial Council the killing of two aides to State Minister for Refugee Affairs Saleh al-Gharib in the Druze area of Aley.
Sources from the Palestinian Fatah movement told Asharq Al-Awsat: “The strike will continue with the blessing of all factions, without exception, and the people, given the Ministry’s insistence to forge ahead with the measures against Palestinian workers and businesses.”
Several businesses owned by Palestinians were shut down because the owners do not have a work permit, although their establishments are registered under the Lebanese law, they revealed.
“The Labor Ministry insists on the work permit, although Palestinians are in Lebanon as refugees and therefore should not be treated as foreign workers,” the sources said.
They said the Palestinians are awaiting a cabinet decision in this regard after realizing that the Labor Minister would not back down from his decision.
Sources on the ground told Asharq Al-Awsat that the strike was observed at most Palestinian camps.
Meanwhile, LF sources told Asahrq Al-Awsat that the Labor Minister insists on implementing the law despite the political and popular pressure.
“The prime minister never asked Abu Suleiman to withdraw his decision, as some try to claim,” the sources added.