The Real Apartheid: Lebanese Fighting Reveals Two Forms of “Racism”

Carlos, of Peace with Realism has an interesting piece on the fighting in Lebanon, which reveals both the prejudices of the Lebanese against the Palestinians, as well as the Western media against Israel (although, when one thinks deeply about it, it’s really a prejudice against the Arabs, whom they apparently have so low an opinion of, that when they behave abominably — shelling civilian residences indiscriminately, killing children — they can’t even get mildly indignant).

May 23, 2007 – For the past several days the army shelled the Palestinian refugee camp. On the first day six civilians were killed, including two children, with more deaths to follow. Sixty more were wounded.

Thousands of civilians fled the camp as the shelling continued. Artillery fire disrupted delivery of food and water to the camp, preventing United Nations convoys from getting through. Hidden by darkness, civilians continued their flight, with as many as 10 people packed into one car, flying white flags from their windows. “There are dead and wounded on the road, inside the camp!” one woman screamed.”

The 40,000 refugees remaining in the camp had neither food nor water. Homes, mosques, and water tanks were hit. Damage to the infrastructure was extensive.

Oddly, there was no cry of outrage from the United Nations and the international community. No protests or demonstrations from Palestinian advocates around the world. No denunciations by Arab leaders defending their Palestinian brothers and sisters.

Because this refugee camp is in Lebanon, and the attacking army is Lebanese. In the Middle East Arabs are allowed to kill Arabs without protest, especially when they are fighting “terrorism,” and even when there is civilian “collateral damage.”

This happened in the Nah al-Bared refugee camp near Tripoli in northern Lebanon. The Lebanese army was going after the Fatah al-Islam group of “militants” who were hiding in that camp.

Were such harsh measures really necessary? Wouldn’t it be more enlightened to examine the “root causes” of terrorism, if we really want to stamp it out?

Consider this:

There are about 400,000 Palestinian refugees living in camps scattered throughout Lebanon. They live in poverty and crowded conditions, in a state of apartheid, with fences separating them from the rest of Lebanese society. Lebanese law regards them as foreigners, with none of the privileges of citizenship. The rate of unemployment is as high as 70%, and those who do work perform menial jobs that others shun. “I don’t even bother looking for work any more,” says one inhabitant of the Rashidieh refugee camp who has a wife and nine children to feed. “They treat us like slaves. I get seven or eight dollars a day at most and it’s not enough for food.”

The children in these camps constitute the third generation of Palestinian refugees. Shaheen Chugtai, a spokesman for Save the Children, says: “When you put people in that kind of situation for a long period of time you find inevitably there is more stress, more violence, more abuse.” They are Arabs living as pariahs in an Arab land.

Many people don’t know that the number of Jewish refugees from Arab lands is roughly equal to the number of Palestinian refugees. But there are no Jewish refugee camps. In Israel that would be considered shameful. Israel absorbed the Jewish refugees, made them full citizens and gave them their dignity. Only Arab countries have the entitlement to discriminate against their own refugees in perpetuity, and receive sympathy for it.

It’s time to examine the root causes of the refugee problem. It’s time to consider the real apartheid.


Logan, Kitty. “Lebanon Faces New Enemy in Palestinian Camps.”, May 22, 2007.

Logan, Kitty. “Civilians Flee Lebanese Camp After Ceasefire.”, May 23, 2007.

Logan, Kitty. “A Life of Filth for Lebanon Refugees.”, May 23, 2007.

Logan, Kitty. “Thousands Flee Fighting in Lebanon Camp.”, May 23, 2007.

The point is well taken. Israeli values — the liberal commitments of civil society — would consider treating their own refugees like this shameful. (Indeed they treat their own Arabs better than the Arabs treat the Palestinians.)

The Arabs have no shame when it comes to abuse — it’s a sign of your manhood that you can step on someone else. And the Western world, especially the Western media, at once fails to shame them by revealing the depths of their depravity, and by reporting the suffering of the refugees as an Israeli responsibility.

I recently posted Calev Ben David’s piece on the Media’s ADD, it’s lack of interest in killing when it wasn’t Israeli related. Here’s another example. This pattern illustrates what an analyst remarked about the media after their coverage of the 1982 Israeli incursion into Lebanon. This is the media’s “moral playground.” They get to wax indignant about Israel; ignore the grotesque behavior of the Arabs, and no one can expect them to show any moral seriousness.

The results of such a combo of childish moralism and ADD are a Western public that doesn’t have a clue to the forces that produce war in this part of the world.

8 Responses to The Real Apartheid: Lebanese Fighting Reveals Two Forms of “Racism”

  1. Adina Kutnicki says:

    Anyone who hasn’t been totally blinded and infected by antisemitism can’t help but see the truth no matter how Orwellian it appears.

    ANYTHING that smacks of Jewish self defense is an intolerable affront to world sensibilities. Saving Jewish lives is not seen as honorable, rather an irritant. Therefore, the international poohbahs howl in outrage when the IDF raises its head. At the same time, they are like deaf mutes when Arabs butcher Arabs.

    Arab life is only worthy to protect when it intersects with Jews being allowed to survive. Otherwise they are relegated to cannon fodder.

    Nevertheless, my ONLY concern is the survival of my people. The Arabs don’t need Jews to defend them as they and the international crew have the same goals – Israel’s destruction.

  2. jacky says:

    the BIG difference dear:
    1. the israelies are responsible of these refugees, they were kicked out from their land by you, and you never allowed them to get back, and lebanon cant stand these large number of refugees, lebanon already face economical problems and we didnt invite them.
    2. you are fighting the palestinians, and you are not recognizing a state for them, you are the big abuser of the human rights not the lebanese.

  3. fp says:

    Those who thought that the virus of anti-semitism has disappeared from europe were badly mistaken: it just went dormant. These things never go away like the wishful thinkers would like.

    they could not stand jews when they walked peacefully to their death and they can’t stand them when they defend themselves. a good jew is a dead jew.

    not to mention that when you label them nazis, you absolve yourself from any guilt for past or future extermination.

  4. RL says:

    to Jacky:

    thank you for your comment. i am puzzled by it, though.

    the BIG difference dear:
    1. the israelies are responsible for these refugees, they were kicked out from their land by you, and you never allowed them to get back, and lebanon cant stand these large number of refugees, lebanon already face economical problems and we didnt invite them.

    this is a rather astonishing comment. the ease with which you deny any accountability for the terrible treatment your country gave the refugees when they first arrived (regardless of whose fault) is pretty amazing. the idea that if you didn’t create the problem you have a right to treat people — your own people: arab muslims — like dirt, astonishes me. is this just a basic attitude towards other human beings, or the result of living in a culture which is so used to blaming israel for everything that it takes responsibility for nothing?

    2. you are fighting the palestinians, and you are not recognizing a state for them, you are the big abuser of the human rights not the lebanese.

    well, it looks like this “i’m-not-responsible-because-you-are” mentality goes deep.” as i’ve explained on this blog many times before, the palestinians show no sign of wanting a state alongside israel and even if israel gave them one, things would not calm down (probably heat up). your way of understanding and handling the situation (esp after lebanon had their own experience with the palestinians as a state within their state 1975-82) shows that you’re not really interested in thinking realistically about anything.

    apparently pointing the finger as a way to absolve yourself is enough.

    too bad. such an approach won’t help lebanon solve it’s enormous problems, any more than it will contribute to a solution of the arab-israeli conflict.

    let me know if you’re looking for ways to succeed rather than excuses for failure.

  5. Joanne says:

    “the israelies are responsible of these refugees, they were kicked out from their land by you, and you never allowed them to get back,”

    The Jews didn’t simply “kick” the Arabs out. In 1948 there was a war in which Arab armies were trying to kick the Jews out, but the Arabs didn’t succeed. The Arabs did succeed in kicking the Jews out of all the Arab countries, however. There’s no question of the Jews being allowed back in there.

    “and lebanon cant stand these large number of refugees, lebanon already face economical problems and we didnt invite them.”

    So you kept them in miserable camps. And maybe had the Arab governments been willing to negotiate earlier on, or been willing to create a Palestinian state in the Territories before the ’67 war, things might’ve been different.

    “you are fighting the palestinians…”

    Israel is fighting the Palestinians because the Palestinians, especially under Hamas, seek to destroy Israel. Are you blaming Israel for fighting for its survival?

    “and you are not recognizing a state for them,”

    You must be kidding! Actually, Israel was ready to do just that, in 2000, but Arafat walked away because he really didn’t want a Palestinian state based on a compromise. The Palestinian Arabs were due to get over 95% of the Territories.

    “you are the big abuser of the human rights not the lebanese.”

    Oh, I don’t know about that. The situation in the Territories has been one of war, but Israel has given up what it could in spite of the threat of terrorism. I’m sure that there are abuses by occupation soldiers, but I understand that the IDF takes pains to limit civilian casualties even when it means endangering its own soldiers. Jenin was a demonstration of that.

    As for the Palestinians living within Israel, their treatment isn’t perfect, but it’s probably an awkward situation because you have a population whose loyalty is naturally going to be ambiguous. But, hey…why don’t we compare how Israel treats the Palestinians within its borders with how Lebanon treats the Palestinians within its borders. Let’s see who the bigger abuser is.

    As for Israel being the big abuser of human rights in the region…compared to whom? Lebanon, Syria, Jordan?

    I’m not saying that there isn’t a little truth in this comment, but it’s mostly untrue and rather simplistic.

  6. fp says:


    practically everything you said is false. you have no idea what you’re talking about.

    you are ignorant of the facts in the arab israeli conflict and you bought one side’s propaganda lock stock and barrel. i suggest you educate yourself before you opine on a subject and make your ignorance obvious for all to see.

    the palestinians were NOT kicked out. israel begged them to stay. they were asked by their leaders from abroad (who cowardly ran away first) to leave and allow the arab armies to attack, on the assumption that they will come back after the victory. that did not happen.

    then the arab countries, instead of assimilating and integrating them — like israel did the jews that were expelled from the arab countries, the real refugees in same numbers — kept them in squalor camps on purpose, to use against israel and for propaganda and because they really did not care for them, or trust them.

    so now the chickens are coming home to roost for the arab states, not israel. that’s in part why they insist on the right of return, which was, is and will be the core of the conflict.

  7. Joanne says:

    I don’t know if the Jews exactly begged the Arabs to stay.

    I think that there was a mix of reactions. Sometimes the Jews encouraged the Arabs to stay, sometimes they did clear out villages, sometimes the Arabs left because Arab propaganda encouraged them to leave, sometimes they left simply because war was breaking out all around them.

    The reality, as I understand it, was a bit complex. That’s why both sides can make their claims with some truth…but SOME truth only.

  8. fp says:


    I suggest you read karsh. he describes the situation in haifa, where the arabs were begged to stay. he also documents decisions made by the jewish leadership to incentivize the arabs to stay with full rights.

    but you are correct. war circumstances are complex. the point to make is that there was no policy to kick the arabs out and the vast majority left by order of cowardly leaders abroad and in fear of war, which is natural.

    given that the treatment of the jews in arab countries was opposite — they WERE kicked out — and given that the numbers were more or less the same, the solution is clearly to cancel each other out, a position which for reasons totally unclear to me, israel has not taken.

    the problem, though, is that israel assimilated its refugees, while the arabs mistreated them and allowed them to fester, because they cared more about defeating israel than about the refugees, lip service to their concern notwithstanding. consequently, they have become an unsolvable problem, which is why (1) they are not a bargaining chip in the conflict, but the core of it (2) anti-zionism has emerged in the world. dumping them in israel would enable everybody to wash their hands of the problem.

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