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Refugee brothers 'alive but forgotten'
Published Monday 30/01/2012 (updated) 31/01/2012 01:49
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Refugees Jamal and Mohsin Bourshli in their home in southern Lebanon.
(MaanImages/Thabet organization, HO)
BEIRUT (Ma'an) -- The plight of a family of Palestinian refugees underscores the dire circumstances experienced by thousands of the stateless residents of Lebanon's camps, a refugee rights group says.

The Bourshli family were expelled from Akka in Palestine in 1948 as the state of Israel was created. They fled to Sidon in southern Lebanon. When Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982, the family was forced to flee again.

In 1984, two brothers from the family, Mohsin, 63, and 51-year-old Jamal, moved into a rented garage in al-Quds neighborhood near Sidon, where they lived until 2002 when an electrical fire destroyed the building and their belongings.

Mohsin and Jamal moved into another garage, where the Thabet organization for the right of return met them.

The garage is filled with plastic and scrap material, and rats enter through a crack in the door, Thabet reported.

Jamal is unable to walk and for 10 years has spent his days and nights on an old sofa. Mohsin, who has injuries to his head and right hand, cycles around the city every morning collecting plastic scrap to sell.

The brothers receive food and $10 each every four months from the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA. A human rights group provides them with bread twice a week.

A third brother, Hassan, lives in a refugee camp and works as a taxi driver, but does not earn enough to support his six children. Jamal never married and Mohsin divorced his wife 30 years ago. They have no children.

Jamal told Thabet he worried for his older brother, who needed a wheelchair.

"My brother is getting older and is suffering various illnesses and he can’t alone continue work. I can’t move but this is our fate and we are satisfied and thank god.

"We want to live like other people, to breath fresh air. We are getting older and death is awaiting us at anytime. We are alive but forgotten in a cemetery for dead."
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1 ) southaprkbear / usa
31/01/2012 06:56
wow, first the warm hospitality, amazing how arabs treat their brothers. Well i guess it's better than if they chosed syria. Second, this is a picture perfect of how life full of lies and welfare turns people dignity away. 63 years gone by. instead of building a house a career and a family these people are told wait we'll give you a house in tel aviv and lots of money but for now live on garbage

2 ) Robert Haymond / Israel/Canada
01/02/2012 01:29
When 950,000 Jews from the Islamic countries of the Mideast and North Africa were thrown out, penniless, after our War of Independence, Israel took them in. It was a very difficult situation for the fledgling new Jewish state but eventually, after ten years, these Sephardim were integrated and now they hold key and prestigious positions within Israeli society itself. As Golda Meir said, "We were almost too successful." Unlike Arabs, we did not hold them hostage for political purposes.

3 ) Don't judge so easily / EU
01/02/2012 18:02
#1: do you know if Palestinian refugees are even allowed to build houses in Lebanon? Perhaps they are treated as badly as Israelis treat Palestinians inside Israel (no building permits, instead their lands are given to Israeli settlers), and for a long time many jobs were forbidden for Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon (this changed recently). So, it has not been easy for any Palestinian refugee to have a career in Lebanon. Read: http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=18510

4 ) Robert Haymond / Israel/Canada
02/02/2012 20:48
#3: Israeli Arabs have all the same rights as any other Israeli including the right to vote, to serve in the Knesset, to use Arabic as Israel's second official language, healthcare, education and old age pensions, right to work and travel anywhere within the country. Unlike most Israelis, they are not required to serve in the IDF nor do they have to complete National Service. That there are some inequities is a given but Jews also face inequities in this flawed but democratic nation.
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