2. The Maronites: Their Present and Future Challenges

  Instructor: Antoine Saad

  Click HERE to get the text written in Arabic by Mr. Saad.

  Click HERE to go to Section I and HERE to go to Section II.

The Challenges that the Christians Face in Lebanon

Section III

Translated into English by Najwa Nasr


C. The implantation or the permanent settlement of the Palestinian refugees


Resulting from the complexities of the regional situation in the Middle East or the local situation in Lebanon, in addition to the deterioration in the international interest in the Lebanese cause, and the foregrounding of the interest of the Hebrew state in contrast to all other issues in the Middle East on the agendas of the capitals of the international decision mainly the USA and the EU, there remains a persistent international endeavor on the part of the international community, which is an eternal threat to Lebanon represented by the implantation of the Palestinian refugees on Lebanese territories. The international communities express their tiredness of the consequences of that cause and have not been able to find a just solution for since 1948; hence, the international community has been looking for the easier solution to the problem, which is keeping the Palestinian refugees wherever they were, and getting them to assimilate into the communities where they live, and annulling their right to return to the cities and towns where from the were expelled when the state of Israel was created.


Regardless whether it were possible to reach a final solution for the Arab-Israeli conflict based on that policy since there are other factors that could impede the implementation of that solution on the long run, Lebanon is certainly unable, under any pretext, to absorb the Palestinian refugees found on its territories. Besides, any attempt to that effect would definitely destabilize the Lebanese entity, and seriously threaten the Christian presence in Lebanon. Besides, this small country does not have the capacity, whether with respect to its area, its raw materials, or its economic capabilities to endure such an unjust measure; besides, Lebanon suffers from high population density and high serious unemployment rate.


  1. Politically: 

The implantation of about four hundred thousand Palestinians, which is almost ten percent the population of Lebanon, will tip off what has been left of the demographic balance among the Lebanese communities. Following the Naturalization decree and the policies adopted during the past two decades which led to the weakening of the Christian role, implantation of the Palestinian refugees will represent a major challenge or in fact a serious danger that requires the collaboration of all efforts to resist and impede its implementation.


The Lebanese constitution clearly rejects implantation in its preamble; all Lebanese political parties of all religious sects also express their rejection of the implantation of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. However, such apprehension is twofold:


On the one hand, the international community does not seem capable of coming up with a solution other than the implantation of the refugees in the countries where they happen to be trying constantly to circumlocute, and close the eyes to the rejection of such a solution raised by the Lebanese as well as the Palestinians and some Arab capitals. Day after day, we realize that this implantation solution is a fixed item on the agendas of the international communities concerned with the peace process in the Middle East.


On the other hand, the Palestinians seem tired and hopeless of reaching a just and comprehensive solution for their cause. Regardless of the desperate conditions of the life of some of them, mainly residents of refugee camps all over Lebanon, and the fact that the international community is supposed to bear responsibility towards those refugees specially after an international resolution safeguarded the creation of the state of Israel in 1984 thus causing the displacement of hundreds of thousands of  Palestinians, we witness a vast trend among the Palestinians living in Lebanon, in particular the financial and social elites, to totally integrate into the Lebanese society through acquiring certain rights to practice free professions, own property, and even acquire the Lebanese nationality. Needless to say that such a trend can at the very least signify permanent settlement or implantation.


  1. Economically:

In addition to the above mentioned political considerations, giving the Palestinians the right to own property in Lebanon and practice the free professions restricted to the Lebanese, despite the fact that the negative economic repercussions of such rights would affect the Moslem community in the first place because of their openness unto the Palestinian milieus, granting the Palestinians all the above-mentioned rights will eventually lead to a general economic disaster which the Christians would not be able to escape due to the eventual rise in unemployment, in the cost of land, and in housing property. At the least, that would lead to the in-pour of thousands of lawyers, engineers, architects, and medical doctors to the job market, and to the need for about thirty housing apartments. Just imagine then the negative impact of all of that on a country that already suffers from high population density in comparison with its surroundings and mainly with the most densely populated countries. (A link to comparative statistical data will be provided soon.)


  1. Culturally:

The implantation of a number of Palestinians in Lebanon, whose number is more than ten percent Lebanese population, would have serious repercussions on the Lebanese cultural identity; especially if we take into consideration that that percentage is bound to rise when we deduct the number of Lebanese immigrants who still carry the Lebanese identity and whose number is around one million. Eventually, a serious transformation would take place in the Lebanese identity, or rather a threat to its culture, customs, traditions, style of life, and other characteristics of the Lebanese civilization.


  1. Security-wise:

Regardless to say that the Palestinian refugee cause has as well negative dimensions and repercussions on the security plane. The Palestinian organizations whether inside the camps or outside are still armed; this presents a concealed pretext for Hezbollah to hold on to its arms claiming they are used for confronting Israel. Moreover, the Palestinian refugee camps all over Lebanon are the asylum for fundamental Islamic organizations and other groups of unknown identity and affiliation and even to criminals and fugitives running away from Lebanese justice. All round tables and dialogue meetings among the Lebanese have not yet succeeded in finding a solution to that crisis.


D. The absence of a clear vision for the future


Despite the big challenges that the Christians face, it seems that the Christian leaders, in general, are busy with issues other than the vital ones. First and foremost is the enlarged decentralization stated in the Taef Accord. So far, no party has yet presented a clear proposal regarding that matter; next is a law that should facilitate reclaiming the Lebanese nationality, and redressing the Naturalization law which tipped off the balance and speeded the process of demographic disproportion among the Lebanese communities. The Christian leaderships and organizations, and we can no more talk of Christian political parties since real democracy has now become far from this framework, seem to restrict their concern to the issue of preparing for the 2013 parliamentary elections, to be followed by the presidential elections in 2014.


Here, it is fair to state that the deterioration of the Christian situation is mainly the responsibility of the political, cultural, social, and educational elites who have not, despite the withdrawal of the Syrian army eight years ago, been able to crystallize a political, social, or economic project capable of drawing a clear road map for the future of Lebanon and the future of the Lebanese and all the religious communities that constitute it. However, that responsibility is not restricted to the Lebanese in general or the Christian residents in Lebanon in particular, but it is equally the responsibility of their emigrant compatriots, especially those who could influence the decisions made in the countries of their immigration regarding the Middle East.


During the past years and decades, the Lebanese immigrants have played a significant role in offering financial and social assistance to their families and parents. In many cases, they played important roles on the political level and succeeded in influencing the international meetings and assemblies to protect Lebanon against some policies that tended to disregard its rights. Yet, we need to preserve that interest and place it within the framework of clear and serious institutions and initiatives.



0 ; 1 ; 2 ; 3

 0 (Not Submitted);

1 (Poor: little effort; little work done; not very relevant -- Good, but Late)

2 (Good: good effort; answered questions appropriately; relevant -- Very Good, but Late)

3 (Very Good: great effort; answered questions very well; answers based both on text and on relevant (listed) outside sources,
and they demonstrate higher order thinking skills)



TOTAL: 100 Points

20 %: Session 1 || 20 %: Session 2

20 %: Session 3 || 20 %: Session 4

20 %: Participation [Engagement and Motivation],

Attitude, & Aspirations

(Interactions on Facebook Group + Page play a big role)


The grades relative to the first session will be available soon.

Keep checking our closed group on Facebook for updates.