Palestinians in Lebanon seek authority

Aug. 20, 2005 at 9:56 AM

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- The Palestinian Hamas movement in Lebanon said Saturday the factions were working on forming a special Palestinian authority in Lebanon.

The Hamas representative in Lebanon, Osama Hamdan, said in the Rashidiya refugee camp in southern Lebanon -- during a rally celebrating the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza -- that a meeting was held among all the Palestinian factions to form such an authority in the country.

He said that relations with Lebanon have never been "properly organized," adding he hoped that the relationship between Beirut and Palestinian refugees would be organized in the next few days "in order for our people to live with dignity until we return to Palestine."

Almost 400,000 Palestinian refugees live in camps in Lebanon, where they have been prevented from working in the country since 1982. The government cites the "threat of settlement" and losing their right to return to their original homes they were forced to flee during the 1948 Middle East war when the Jewish state was established.

After the Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon in April, Beirut lifted a ban on allowing Palestinians to work in many fields but maintained it on some professions.

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