Olfat Mahmoud … stateless

“She’s smart … for a woman. I wonder how she got that way” – Peggy Seeger.

On 4th August 2020, there was a huge explosion in Beirut killing over 200 people and injuring thousands. This has been in the news, we have seen the visit by the French President Macron promising help.

What the news does not say is that there are two refugee camps in the middle of Beirut home since 1948 to Palestinian refugees. They were chased from their houses and villages by zionist thugs supported by the International Community including the French, British, U.S. and Australian governments.

Overnight I interviewed Dr Olfat Mahmoud from the Palestinian Women’s Humanitarian Organisation in Beirut. I met Olfat in 2018 at Qld Council of Unions and APHEDA at a launch of her book Tears for Tashiha at Trades Hall. In the explosion two Palestinians from the camps were killed and 13 injured. People have been helping in the clean up. This has been done in the absence of corrupt government officials. In the after noon young Lebanese go to the square protesting corruption in government. The refugees are afraid to go because they are afraid of recriminations.

Olfat was born a refugee, her children are born as refugees, her grandchildren will be born as refugees. They are all stateless. UN estimates that there are five million Palestinian people like Olfat’s family.
Olfat works in camps subjected to horrific massacres in 1982 by the right-wing political group, Phalange. She lived in a nearby camp as a child and knows families tortured, raped and murdered with assistance by the Israeli occupation army.

Ian talks with Dr. Olfat Mahmoud about Palestinian Refugee crisis in Lebanon after the explosion on 4 August 2020.

Fairouz – Sanarjou Yawman – فيروز – سنرجع يوما
We will return.

When we first met at trades hall, Dr Mahmoud gave us a brief history of the struggle of the Palestinian people starting with the Balfour declaration in 1917. Palestinians are denied the right of return to their towns, villages and farms.

She spoke about Palestinian refugees in camps outside the occupied Palestinian territories (in places like Lebanon) and how the people do not have protection of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) because they are stateless.

Apparently aid from UNWRA inside Palestine is under severe attack by the US. Israel has passed a Nation State law that will drive Palestinian citizens of Israel out and aims to deny Palestinians their homeland forever. There is no right of return guaranteed under UN resolution 194.

Arab league states (like Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq …) voted in the UN against Palestinian ‘right of return‘ even though they do not want Palestinians in their countries. Here is an excerpt from Olfat’s talk.

What can we do?

Participate in the Big Ride for Palestine at https://thebigrideaustralia.weebly.com

In 2020 funds will be sent via APHEDA to its partner, the Palestinian Women’s Humanitarian Organisation (PWHO). This orgaisation works within the Palestinian camps in Lebanon to support the people in the camps. For more information contact:
The Big Ride Team

Ian Curr
13 August 2020