In Lebanon, at least among the Palestinian populations living in Sabra, Shatila and Ain al-Hilweh, the potentially historic moment does not appear to have caused much of a stir.
“We are hopeful,” said Nawad, a nurse at a clinic near the entrance to the Shatila camp on the outskirts of Beirut. “But I don’t hear the issue discussed around the camp.”
Indeed, around a quarter of respondents were unaware of the bid or knew only the scantest of details. Among those familiar with the plan, their greatest concern was over the effect recognition of the State of Palestine would have on their status as refugees in Lebanon.
“I hope the law will give us the right to work and to buy property in Lebanon like other nationalities,” said Nawad.
“I have business in Syria but have to return to Lebanon every seven days with the pass I have. Will [UN membership] help
with the bureaucratic hassle?” asked 34-year-old Sabra resident Saleh.
According to Khassem Hassan, secretary general of Fatah in Shatila, UN membership would solve a number of official problems. “For example,” he said, “I expect it will legalize verbal agreements, such as allowing Palestinians without ID cards to continue their education, thereby making them permanent.” It would also be a major psychological boost to Palestinians worldwide, he added. “Having the knowledge that among the international community we exist as a people, and can have a passport, many things will be solved.”