IN THE NAME OF ALLAH THE MOST GRACIOUS THE MOST MERCIFUL
The night is falling away. I am sleepless from the thoughts of my brothers somewhere in Ramallah, Gaza and Hebron, thinkin' of children without names, childhood or smile with glistening sorrows of lost friends, fleeting hopes and amber. I wish I were there to hold some before their soft feathers curled up, sheltered inside my heaving heart.
Today morning, I got up on my mobile massage alert, I opened the message in which I found breaking news from ikhwah saying that at least 15 Palestinians were killed and many other innocent people were injured. I thought that this was news from yesterday , so I opened the T.V to be sure, and found that a new massacre was committed today morning by the Israeli. Before I forget, I want to thank all Muslims over the world for keeping silent. Being Malaysian, the destiny of my life brought me far away from Palestine. But in spite of the distance, my interest for Al-Quds and the concerns for its well-being, has not dissipated.
We shall return
The nightingale told me,
When upon a hill we met.
That nightingale lives on there
In our dreams.
Among the hills
And people who yearn,
There is a place for us.
O heart, how long?
How long then...
Have we been scattered by the wind?
We shall return.
Let us return!
O heart, do not drop in weariness
On the path of our return.
How it wounds our pride to know
That birds tomorrow will return
While we still remain here.
There are hills
That sleep and wake again
On our pledge.
There are people
In love with days
Filled with waiting and nostalgic songs,
And places where the eye is filled
With willows bending over the water,
While in their shade
Afternoons drink the perfume of peace.
We shall return to our homes,
To drown in the warmth of hope.
We shall return
Though time passes us by
And distances grow only greater
Al-Aqsa in danger!
"Glory be to the One who took His servant on a journey by night from Al-Masjid Al-Haram in Makkah to Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa,
whose precincts We have blessed..."
(Al-Israa' 17: 1)
While the world is all over the Hizbullah victory in the "Israel"-Lebanon war, Zionist oppression of Al-Aqsa in the holy land of Jerusalem is going on unnoticed. While the world is fascinated by Hizbullah's triumph, and its current status as the hero of Lebanon, Al-Aqsa is disregarded. Aid is being channeled to Lebanon whilst Al-Aqsa struggles under constant Zionist aggression. Al-Aqsa is still being violated by the Zionist regime. The situation in Jerusalem is deteriorating by the day. The humiliation and indecent treatment which the Palestinians have been experiencing in their own land is worsening. Until now, Palestinians are still being barred from performing Friday prayers in the mosque for several months running. Our real responsibility is to defend Al-Aqsa based on its special status as the first kiblah. Our soldiers should be sent to Jerusalem to defend the holy sanctuary. The safety of the mosque should be our main concern. As Muslims, we should familiarize ourselves with the steps the Zionists have taken to occupy Al-Aqsa and realise their ambition to build their Jewish temple, the Haykal of Solomon.
Does anyone care to remember?
"And (remember) when Musa (Moses) said to his people: "O my people! Remember the Favour of Allah to you, when He made Prophets among you, made you kings, and gave you what He had not given to any other among the 'Alamîn (mankind and jins, in the past). "O my people! Enter the holy land (Palestine) which Allah has assigned to you, and turn not back (in flight) for then you will be returned as losers."
(Al-Ma'idah 5: 20-21)
Palestine. Nothing is new. Nothing is new in the processes of peace. When I remember Palestine, which never fades off from our minds, and we, Muslims still remember the sufferings which the Zionists and their REAL TERRORISTS have done, shooting at the people who were praying in the morning, killing a child who was defending himself with a stone on a Zionist soldier who was insulting the people (children of the stones ? abtaalul/atfaalul ahjar ) praying in front of the mosque.
Abu Umamah al-Bahili, Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. said: "...There will be a group from my ummah that will be always be on the true and righteous path. They will overcome their enemies and they will not be transgressed against unless suffering befalls them, until Allah's help comes and they return to their normal state. The companions asked: Where do they live, oh Rasulullah s.a.w.? The Prophet replied: In Jerusalem and the surrounding areas ..."
(reported by Ahmad)
Children in their youth each one carrying their stone, waiting for the right moment to throw it to their enemies. A very sad situation which will never end, - killing and intruding the rights of civilians. When are we going to have peace which all the people around the world are thinking of, so that the situation would be controlled and the fighting will stop?!! When are we going to get Palestine back?! It will never come back if we still keep on being silent and doing nothing! It will never return except by force and surprise, exactly by the way they took it. We remember the freedom fighters that with their blood irrigated the land. Those who gave their lives, fought for their country. We are going to get it back form Zionists Laknatullah one day.
It has been a largely uphill struggle getting Muslims to realise the importance of the al-Aqsa sanctuary as referred to in the Qur'an and the authentic hadeeth.
Nu'man Ibn al-Bashir R.a said that the Prophet SAW said: "The example of the believers in their harmony, their mercifulness toward one another and their sympathy to each other is like an example of the body. If one of its organs suffers, the whole body aches with fever and sleeplessness" .
(Reported by Imam Muslim)
Palestinians face a whole host of hardships in achieving even the simplest things in their daily lives which we would take for granted. For example, the building of the Apartheid wall cut off thousands of students and teachers from their educational establishments. Now people cannot reach hospitals or health centres, and even things like childhood immunisations which we do not think twice about are disrupted. Palestinians cannot travel freely either within the occupied territories or internationally as passage even from one town to another is ultimately decided by the soldiers at the check-points. There is also a water crisis and basic public services are routinely disrupted. In Gaza, in the summer of 2006, Israel bombed the only power station causing hundreds of thousands to go without electricity for months.
We are trapped!
At the moment, I allowed myself to be mad because we Muslims are called and pointed by them as terrorists. The real terrorists are not the people who are living in Afghanistan, Iraq, or Palestine. The real laknatullah terrorists are the current leaders in Israel and the United States. The political leaders in Israel and the US can point their bloody fingers and cry "terrorist" to anyone they want, but that doesn't wash the blood from their hands. There is a saying: "...If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, you call it a duck..!!" The real terrorist label, that their politicians use so liberally, fits the US and Israel more than it does the people they call terrorist. The real terrorists are the people walking around the hall of congress with blood-covered hands.
They include the people in the SATANIC Bush's administration, and the members of Congress who authorized Bush to take the action he has taken. These leaders have earned themselves a place next to Hitler in the Inhumanity Hall of Shame. They have also earned a rebuke from the American people. Someone in our political leadership must be held accountable for the death, pain, and suffering of the innocent victims in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in America that job belongs to American people. The American people cannot turn a blind eye towards the growing numbers of evil, perverse, premeditated and deliberate criminal acts being committed by America's and Israel's leadership without placing themselves in the same danger. Put yourself in the victim's shoes and think about how you would feel and how you might react. Now try and figure out the best way to keep yourself out of those shoes. It took ten years and the lives of over 55000 American soldiers and two millions Asians, before the American public's outrage over the war in Vietnam grew to a point that the politicians were pressured into ending that pointless bloody conflict. So, how many lives must be lost and how much money must be spent before the conflict in Iraq and other Muslim countries become too much for the American people to bare!?
The Real Satan
The real problem is not with the American people. But the problem is with the current elected leadership. The Bush administration's mountain of lies and limitless hypocrisy are now being ignored by most of the American people. Clearly the American media has failed to impressed the gravity of corruption that is so pervasive in the Bush administration and also in Olmert's administration in Israel. Million dollars have been used to fund Israel's economy and American made weapon are being used by Israel's military to carry out its brutal oppression against the poor people in Palestine. Israel's Jewish leaders treat the Palestinian people almost exactly like and even worse than how the Nazi's treated the German Jews before Kristallnacht. After which the Holocaust started and the Jews were rounded up and systematically killed. The Nazi's policies were raciest, cruel and wrong, and so is Israel.
Israel steals land from the Palestinian people, destroys their homes, businesses, and crops and then has the gall to call the Palestinian people terrorist for trying to fight back. Regardless of whether you kill people directly, or indirectly, you are still guilty of killing, and the Palestinian people have the right to defend themselves and their families from the racist thieves who are stealing their land and extinguishing their lives.
The Palestinians and just about all the other Arabs in the Middle East, hate America because of its unquestioning support for Israel. The US gives Israel over 3 billion dollars each year, free trade, and military hardware while at the same time the government ignores Israel's human rights violation against the Palestinian people. Therefore, the political leaders in America, both Democrats and Republicans, are hypocrites and are guilty of supporting terrorism made by their bloody hands. The vast majority of American people are allowing themselves to be spoon fed by lying politicians. I believe that the situation has gotten so bad that half of American people could be hanging from the GOP's bloody meat hooks and their last thoughts would be 'This is all those damn liberal Democrats faults..!?'
America attacks Iraq, Afghanistan and many other Muslim countries without justifiable cause. The SATANIC US and Israel kill thousands of innocent civilians, they wound thousands more, they destroy the infrastructures, causing massive blackouts, water outages and travel blockages They occupy Muslim countries with brutal oppressions, collective killings, tortures and they start a massive theft of Muslims' natural resources. The whole world seems to have forgotten; that already 15 years ago, Yasser Arafat conceded that they shall have the right to exist within the territory given to them by the UN (the borders of 1967). But the SATANIC Israel was not satisfied with that. They want more lands. Lands of Barakah-Palestine!
As for our battle with the Jews it is authentically narrated in the Sunnah. No doubt that the end of the Jews will be by the hands of the Muslims.
Abu Hurairah Ra narrated that the Prophet said: "The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say. "O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him."
(Reported by Imam Bukhari)
So, what are you waiting for?!..Lets do jihad. Do something and stop keeping yourself silent, otherwise you and your families may become the targets of the leader's blood covered hands as they turn and point their blood fingers at you and yell "you are terrorist!!". Now, only Hamas and Hezbollah are trying to help them, sacrificing their bloods for the sake of peace. But they just have no chance as long as these Israel Laknatullah and the real terrorist are backed up by the SATANIC US, and we Muslims just look and do nothing for them! Allahuakbar.
Dr. Hussein Shihata, Professor of Islamic economy at the Faculty of Commerce, Al-Azhar University opines that the economic boycott is a religious obligation; Muslim jurists have also agreed that it is a necessity. Therefore, economic Jihad is given the same legal ruling as physical Jihad in its broadest sense.
Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. stressed the significance of economic Jihad, saying, "Whoever helps a fighter in the cause of Allah is given the same reward as the fighter, and whoever takes care of his family (the fighter) is given a similar reward.."
(reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
In this regard Sheikh Yusuf al-Qardhawi says, "To buy ("Israeli" and American) goods is to support tyranny, oppression and aggression. Buying goods from them will strengthen them; our duty is to make them as weak as we can. Our obligation is to strengthen our resisting brothers in the Sacred Land as much as we can. If we cannot strengthen the brothers, we have a duty to make the enemy weak. If their weakness cannot be achieved except by boycott, we must boycott them."
He goes on to state, "It is a legal obligation upon all Muslims to boycott Israel and all countries that support it, especially the United States of America for each dirham or dinar that reaches them turns to a bullet used in shooting our brothers in Palestine."
As long as we go on buying their products, the Zionists will continue committing all sorts of atrocities on our brothers and sisters in Palestine. Palestine will be bombed, houses will be demolished and Palestinians killed with the bullets we have bought. Therefore, Muslims should stop buying and supporting products that are known to aid "Israel" and America. Our buying power can paralyse the "Israeli" economy and bring peace back to Palestine.
The question is, what have WE contributed to Al-Aqsa? Defending Al-Aqsa is an obligation, so is it enough for us to just look on while our brothers and sisters suffer? What will we answer in front of our Lord on the Day of Resurrection? Hopefully our small but consistent contributions will save us in the Hereafter. Don't hesitate, start helping now!!!
Dr.Nik Mohd Abduh b. Nik Mhd Nor
2nd year - Faculty of Medicine of Egypt..
"..jangan biarkan diri anda orang yang terakhir menolong rakyat Palestin .."
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
In the Name of Allah..The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful..
ROAD TO BEIRUT
“Glory to (Allah) Who did take His servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the farthest Mosque, whose precincts We did bless,- in order that We might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the One Who heareth and seeth (all things).” Al-Isra’ : 1
For six days I was connected to my online-TV and to the internet. I just wanted to absorb as much news as I can about Palestine. It really hurts to see my ikhwah being torn up so badly in all arabs countries especially in Palestine and Beirut. I remember visiting downtown Beirut the first time in my life. I remember how it was demolished, how the buildings were scarred with bullet holes, how the statue at Martyr’s square was full of bullet holes as well. I remember walking down the streets exploring the city, or at least what was remaining of the city. I also remember walking in that city only a couple of years later to see it full of archeological sites, something I loved. We were allowed to walk in those sites freely in order to explore it all. I remember a few years before I walked in a renovated downtown street . It was gorgeous. Bit by bit, over the years the city started to grow and coming to life as I watched it admiringly. During all those phases, I kept hearing what Lebanon used to be like before the war.Those reconstruction years were not easy years for Lebanon. It took a lot of time for Lebanon to even take the step to start rebuilding, to get over the pain, and to try to forget the ugliness it witnessed. Lebanon wasn’t fully stable yet. The south was still occupied by Israel, and Syria was forcing it’s politics in Lebanon, while the Lebanese politicians were mostly corupt. In 1996, the Qana massacred occured. It was messy and ugly. It shocked us all. Four years later, Israel pulled out from the South but left their foot in Shebaa Farms. My initial reaction was disbelief since I couldn’t believe that they had pulled out. Five years later, after a couple of major explosions in Lebanon, Syria pulled out. The joy I felt is unexplainable since I knew it was going to be Lebanon’s turning point. Lebanon was only going to move forward.
Now, here I sit back while watching my ikhwah there being torn up again and I really want to take this opportunity to share my experience with all ikhwah in Malaysia thru out this very unexplainable article which couldn’t be interpreted by our minds, and naked eyes, the events I had together with volunteers from JIM…the most crucial events in my life..!”
I made my first trip to Lebanon over Christmas -New Year 2005/6.
3 WEEKS BEFORE THE TRIP
Ringgg…The phone call that I had been dreading came on a late Saturday night. As the phone rang, I answered the call. The source of the identified call was very clear for me. He was Ust. Maszlee. From his words, I knew that I was selected by him to accomplish a mission which I had been dreaming for many years before. I looked at ummi and asked for her permission, persuaded her in a very good manner that night but then, no words had to be spoken between us. She kissed my cheek, smiled at me and asked me to sleep earlier that night..she said in very nice words, “Dont forget to alarm me this night..We pray together with abah ok?..then we discuss later..if abah say no, you can’t go there..ok dear?”
Preparing my assignments late that night, a feeling of fear gripped me, the fear of the unknown words from abah. What if abah wouldnt permit me to go there? This is the only chance I ever had in my life.. I couldn’t sleep that night, thinking of what would happen tomorrow..what would the final words from abah’s tongue..The following morning, ummi said that she had already prepared for me almost everything for the trip…She didn’t sleep that night..how great ummi..even I forgot to alarm her..hehehe.. Alhamdulillah...akhirnya..abah agreed with the trip..
“BEIRUT WELCOMES YOU”
That was the first sentence that marked my arrival in Lebanon’s capital. Painted on a tower at the airport, it appeared that Beirut is expecting quite an influx of visitors.
‘Cold’ being the operative word. As I stepped off the plane, I was slapped in the face by the surrounding air. Being used to the “high” (not really high actually) temperatures of Malaysia, this was a test for me. At this very nice airport, we were welcomed and brightened up by a young smiley handsome man-dressed in unbuttoned coat. He then introduced his name and all about himself(Harith-very nice name) and then, we were sent to our “sweet home”. From the window of our the home, we could see the whole buildings built in Beirut, peoples were walkin’ around, having their own daily routines..Children were playing footballs here and there..
All programmes and activities were already managed by Ust.Maszlee and ikhwah-Lebanese there. We had to give our full of commitment since our mission there was named as “Humanitarian Mission”. 2 weeks before, I already set my mind up that this journey would definitely be neither a tourism visit, nor a “suka-suka” trip. This trip would be a challenging one..!! No fun..
The following day, I braved the midday air (which was excruciating) and went out alone. On the way, I got an impression of what Beirut looks like by day. It is, to be polite, a building site. Piles of rubble were everywhere, and half–finished skyscrapers stand apologetically next to shiny new apartment blocks and office towers.
Two and a half hours after breakfast, we were called by Bro.Harith to prepare ourselves. We had only 10 minutes to organize ourselves for the mission. HUMANITARIAN MISSION. There was no time to relax for us as we stepped our foots here. An hour before our departure, we were given a very short “briefing” on the mission and we finally digested it. For the first 3days, we were brought to visit some places in Beirut. We visited also the offices belonged to ikhwah in Lebanon. We were introduced to the workers inside and to the daily works(not really “works” but JIHAD I think) of the company. I was so mesmerized to see that all of them gave their full commitments to fulfill their aims, awakening all people around the world that the issue of Palestine-Israel is not only the issue of Palestinian people, but it is the issues of all person who declare themselves as MUSLIMS!!..the issues of brotherhood..the issue of saving our holy land..The 3rd holy land belongs to all muslims..and the issue of satanic Israel who has been invading our land of barakah over many years…!!
The following day, we were brought to a very nice mountain. The very fresh air was 14°C. It is a mountain which I could view almost all buildings in Lebanon. When I was coming down from the mountains, my eyes pointed to a site. I slowly walked towards there and asked one of our Lebanese Ikhwah, he told me that from this point, we could see the borders which separate Palestine and Lebanon. I could also see my dreamy Holy Land-PALESTINE..Unfortunately, we were all only given few minutes to be there because we had to do a very important mission that day. On our way, my eyes suddenly attracted to a site which many cars parked surrounding it with lots of people. I didn't understand what had happened actually and I thought there had been some sort of accident. I asked one of akhi-Lebanese(forgot his name) what was going on. As our van got nearer I realized that they were all watching the “historical” bombed building of Beirut. It was a site which Rafik Hariri was shooted/bombed. The building was strictly guarded by Lebanon armies. Today it was a site of all Lebanese people just watching like tourists watching some sort of “show”. We then continued our trip safely and peacefully.
For the whole 5 days later, we were given many inputs from ikhwah in a very long course. We discussed on the history of Palestine, the Aqsa mosque itself, the dome of the rock, peoples and how Israel conquered our Land. This very meaningful course took nearly 6 hours each day and alhamdulillah, we were given bulky of info from the corresponding speakers. (get the full length video from akhisafwan..ask his permission first..). Some infos were off-recorded due to several reasons.hehe..how poor…
The most enjoyable and interesting experience was the visit to Palestine Refugees Camp. We spent there for nearly about 2 or 3 days. We went to several camps and we saw with our naked eyes the peoples around suffering from the diseases, extreme poverty and living in up-side-down houses. Here I attached a picture regarding to the Palestinian Refugees camps in Lebanon.
Here some info about Palestinian Refugees Camp which were recorded during our visits to refugees camps. I recorded this fact by my mp3..
(Mungkin mujahid, Safwan, Taqi, dan others leh betulkan if there’s any mistakes..)
Originally, there were 750,000 displaced Palestinians scattered in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Gaza. The majority went to Jordan as the West Bank had been part of Jordan at the time of the '67 war.
Due to increases in population, there are now 3.5 million registered refugees receiving aid, 1.5 million in Jordan, 545,000 in West Bank and 800,000 in Gaza. The rest are scattered in Lebanon (360,000) and Syria (355,000). This is not the total number of Palestinians. Only one-third live in the camps. For example, in the West Bank 143,000 live in camps while 400,000 don't. In Gaza, however, where conditions are terrible, there are 400,000 living in the camps and 335,000 outside.
The other two-thirds live independently throughout the areas and Jerusalem with communities around the Middle East and North Africa and emigrants going to the United States and Europe. The camps have evolved over the years. Unlike the concentration camps they tend to resemble, there are no fences. People are free to move. However, as most lost land and livelihood, they have nowhere else to go. This is especially true of widows with children, the elderly, disabled and orphans. Some camps are as large as small cities.
In 1949, the number of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon was 100,000. They had fled or were expelled from their homes and lands in 1948 during the creation of the state of Israel; 58 years later, they are still unable to return to their homes. Their children and grand children were born in Lebanon and never saw the towns and villages from where their families came. Today, over 400,000 of them are registered by the United Nations as refugees in Lebanon.
The majority of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon live in the 12 official refugee camps serviced by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), an organization created in 1949 to provide relief and work programmes for Palestinian refugees. The land area of the official camps has remained mostly unchanged since 1948 despite the large increase in the Palestinian refugee population in Lebanon.
The overcrowding created by this situation is worsened by the Lebanese authorities’ prohibition of entry of building materials to camps in the south of Lebanon, which hosts some of the largest Palestinian camps, thus preventing inhabitants from making improvements or repairs to their homes.
Other Palestinian refugees in Lebanon live either in cities and towns or what are known as unofficial camps, makeshift settlements that have existed since Palestinian refugees arrived in Lebanon. These settlements have limited infrastructure and are poorly constructed because the Lebanese government prohibits all construction work in these unofficial camps. Many families place corrugated metal sheets side-by-side to act as walls or roofs, providing only limited shelter from the heat and the rain. Building with bricks so as to gain greater protection from the elements can lead to trouble. In one case, a woman was arrested by the police and detained until the brick wall her husband had recently built was pulled down.
The camps were found on temporal basis waiting for the solution of refugees problem. Accordingly, UNRWA had built temporary structures and infrastructures which were not developed during the past years despite the increase in refugees numbers and the development in social and economic conditions among refugees. The congested buildings and the absence of proper infrastructures played a significant role in deteriorating the quality of living conditions in the camps. UNRWA, which is responsible of the camps, declared that (As-safir, 1995) its plans of rehabilitation and reconstruction of the infrastructure in the camps wait the permission of the ministry of interior. It may be concluded that worse environmental conditions in addition to other humanitarian aspects will encourage people to leave the camp and the country to look for safe asylum.
Living in the congested camps is considered as a sign of poverty and deprivation (Sayigh, 1996), where about 11% of the total population is registered in the "hardship cases" program (UNRWA, 1995). The main reason of high population density is referred to the small areas allowed for refugees to build in. Besides, they are not allowed to expand outside the camps' borders; however, the lands allocated for refugee camps in 1949 have not been increased during the past 50 years, but on the contrary, they were reduced in some places and totally demolished in others. To overcome this problem the refugees expanded vertically, and built tortured buildings in order to find asylum for more new families. In most cases, the resulted buildings lack the minimum requirements for healthy living and are poor in their environmental conditions.
Ein-El-Helweh refugee camp, the largest refugee camp in Lebanon, was established in 1949 at 3 km to the south east of Saida, about 45 km south of Beirut; its area is about 318,236 m2 (32 ha). Since 1976 the camp has received thousands of emigrants and displaced refugees from other damaged camps in Beirut and south Lebanon. However, there is no exact figure of the population in the camp; it was estimated in the range between 38,483 as registered by UNRWA (UNRWA, 1995) and 80,000 according to local estimates (As-safir, 1997) including the new groupings recently developed around the camp. Some figures refer to the presence of 8826 shelter approximately (UNRWA, 1996). Assuming the average family members to be 6.2, therefore, the population should be about 55000, and the population density approaches 1719 person per hectare.
The water supply pattern has been developed from distribution by water tanker to public water standpipes then into household connections. The development was done by various uncoordinated efforts of the inhabitants, NGO's, and UNRWA. It was based on temporary basis which did not consider the future demands of population. At present the camp is supplied with water from two sources (Sanitation Section, 1997): municipal sources, which provide about 60% of the consumed water quantity, and local wells inside the camp, which provide 40%. Four wells and elevated tank of capacity 280 m3 were constructed during the 1980's by local committees in order to meet the water demand in the camp and the near residential areas as well. However, there are records about the flow rate or well production.
When camps were first established, water was distributed for all purposes at a rate of 10 l/c/d to 20 l/c/d (CEHA, 1991). Recently, it has been reported that the monthly consumption rate in the past years was about 114500 m3 (Sanitation Section, 1997), i.e., about 48 to 69 l/c/d. Although the consumption rate per capita has been increased within 50 years, it remained low as compared to the average recommended 150 l/c/d.
In the mean time, the refugees are suffering from water supply shortage, particularly in the hot summer season, due to several factors: the most significant factor is the intermittent supply from outside sources due to frequent failures and lack of maintenance; some wells have been closed when dried out; water pressure was not adequate, so refugees have been using small pumps to lift water from mains into household cisterns.
The absence of responsibility and planning, has resulted in a confused, poor and incomplete water distribution networks inside the camp alleys; whereas some quarters have access to water, others are still deprived of any source. Major parts of the old distribution network were damaged during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, while most of the damaged parts, or the old corroded pipes were not replaced or properly rehabilitated. Most of the pipes were laid beside ditches and sewerage lines without considering the minimum engineering requirements for pipe protection; this situation allows for water contamination and spread of diseases.
Laboratory investigations are rarely conducted (Sanitation Section, 1997). It is worthy to note that old pipes were exposed to contamination through leakage, and the presence of contamination, either because of pipe corrosion or water quality, will enhance the hazards of communicable diseases. Water borne or water related diseases are propagated through water or due to lack of adequate water supply or improper waste disposal.
UNRWA started its program with the provision of temporary latrines, then replaced by septic tank latrines with percolation pits at the rate of 3 slabs per 100 persons (CEHA, 1991). In 1970's most of the households in the camp had their own septic tanks, or VIP latrines and soakage pits, with absence of a sewerage system. The pits need to be evacuated by special equipped trucks when filled; however, these trucks are not easily available. One of the disadvantages of this system is that the flooded pits would become a good environment for insects and flies breeding, and then a potential source of water contamination and health risks during the rainy season.
In the beginning of 1970's UNRWA installed sewer lines in the major streets of the camp and connected them to the main municipal interceptor. Other sewer lines were connected to old lines (ø200mm) which had been constructed in the 1940's, and passed under houses (UNRWA, 1996). The existing sewerage system is still working and serves about 20% of the population. Some parts of the sewerage system were rehabilitated, and many houses were connected to the new lines constructed in the alleys. It should be mentioned that the new residential groupings formed around the camp are still deprived from infrastructure services such as waste disposal or water supply.
On the other hand, there is no proper stormwater drainage system in the camp; however, few open ditches exist in some areas. In rainy seasons the alleys and streets are usually flooded and become like swamps. The ditches, of total length about 400m, were constructed to dispose of stormwater into a near wadi passing in the camp. The ditches are being used to dispose of used water and sullage, so they remain a place for dumping rubbish and garbage, as well as stagnant water, pests, and bad odours. So they become a source of potential hazards that endanger the near houses and public health particularly when polluted water overflow to houses.
Social, political, and historical factors have been interrelated in a complicated way that resulted in the refugees hard living conditions. Many serious problems played a significant role in the deterioration of general environmental conditions and the spread of communicable diseases among the refugees; these problems include high population density, shortage of safe water supply in quantity and quality, lack of proper infrastructure services, and mismanagement of solid waste. According to the general director of UNRWA in Lebanon, the environmental conditions in the refugee camps in Lebanon are disastrous (As-safir, 1995).
The government's policy prevented the expansion or the reconstruction of the damaged camps. While UNRWA has frozen its projects of improving the public facilities, people were forced to build in the alleys and paths of the camp a very unhealthy houses which did not conform with the minimum living standards. These buildings will have a significant impact on the type of services and infrastructures available, such as water distribution and sewage disposal. As previously mentioned, the absence of proper disposal system of surface drainage and rain water, allows the refugees to dispose of the used water and sullage into the roads and alleys, which causes ponding, and overflowing of water into houses when it rains. The narrow alleys have raised many barriers before any attempt to install water lines or sanitary network in trenches due to difficulties in excavating the roads between houses. However, the poor living and environmental conditions in the camp (insufficient space, over-crowding, sewage disposal, insufficient drinking water) would be badly reflected on other social and health aspects of families, particularly children.
According to WHO Standards (WHO, 1971), water for human consumption must be free from organisms and from concentrations of chemical substances that may be a hazard to health. That means, water should be of good quality, colourless, odourless, tasteless, free of pathogens and poisonous compounds. In fact, Ein-El-Helweh camp suffers of water shortage; many attempts have been made to increase the quantity of water allotted for the camp but to no avail (Sanitation Section, 1997). This may indicate other political reasons behind this policy. The insufficient water supply and low pressure have forced people to draw water directly from mains by using small pumps paying little attention to health matters. This practice associated with the badly planned network resulted in frequent contamination of water supplies (UNRWA, 1996).
Numerous diseases are transmitted through water or due to lack of water, such as cholera, typhoid, malaria, dysentery, hepatitis, and other skin diseases. Sanitation Section of UNRWA carried out laboratory analysis on water samples from camps; however, some reports have shown the presence of polluted samples, and were attributed to the deteriorated condition of the distribution network, associated with frequent stopping of chlorinators of water wells (UNRWA, 1996). In fact, precise information is not available about this aspect in the camp, and if there is some information, it remains in closed circuits, so it will not make any troubles for the official institutions. However, some diseases which have a direct relation to water contamination were spread in some areas of Ein-El-Helweh camp and other camps as well. According to news reports from Borj Al-Shamali camp (As-safir, 1995), about 500 people were infected by typhoid and suffered from headache, diarrhea and high temperature; several teams had visited the camp and reported that water supply was polluted from sewage. In 1996, only 3 cases of typhoid were reported in Ein-El-Helweh camp and 1889 cases of diarrhea among those older than 3 years (UNRWA, 1997). Although cases of hepatitis haven't been reported in the camp recently, the number was increased from 29 in 1975 to 160 cases in 1977 (Saudi, 1979).
The General Director of UNRWA (1995), stated that the problems related to improper solid waste management, quantity and quality of water supply as well as distribution system conditions, have become worse and more critical due to the increasing population growth in the refugee camps of Lebanon, Gaza strip, and West Bank. Moreover, Ein-El-Helweh camp has become a model of poor environmental conditions, overcrowding, and lack of open spaces or green and planted areas. In addition to water supply and wastewater disposal problems, the solid waste collection and disposal is the most urgent, where the quantity of solid waste produced daily in the camp approaches 39 tons (Sanitation Section, 1997). This problem will result in worse problems mainly in crowded areas due to the organic nature of the waste, ugly scenes, bad odours and smells, and the presence of flies and rodents. Solid waste is mainly produced from daily consumptive activities, and it includes food residues, glass, carton, and metals, etc. The high quantity which is produced daily needs continuous collection and disposal to prevent the transmission of diseases. UNRWA (CEHA, 1991) usually appointed 2.5 sanitation labourers for each 1000 camp residents, this means that Ein-El-Helweh camp needs at least a number of 137 workers. In fact the number of available workers in sanitation department of Ein-El-Helweh camp is 44, which is far below the required number. It should be said that the necessary trucks and other equipment should be provided to facilitate the accumulated solid waste collection and disposal.
Finally, it should be said that environmental conditions should be improved in the refugee camps in Lebanon by the help and cooperation between local, regional and international institutions to halt the camps from being transformed into areas of constant poverty and potential source of environmental dangers.
The deteriorated environmental conditions in the refugee camps in Lebanon include problems related to improper solid waste management, quantity and quality of water supply, distribution system conditions, and high population density as well.
The provision of safe and adequate water supply as well as proper waste disposal will reduce the water-born diseases. The water pipes which were laid before more than 50 years, are exposed to contamination from nearby ditches and sewers, and they need replacement. Incidents of water contamination were attributed to the distribution system condition.
Unfortunately, we were strictly prohibited to enter a palestinian refugees camp due to several Lebanon Laws and authorities (we believed that this camp is fully managed by HAMAS and is under theirs controls). The only superpower - Ust.Maszlee was permitted to go in. Then, when I was deeply taking my breath (to releasing my frustration) and looking at the scenery of the surroundings, one of our akhi came and showed me digital pictures he took several days before we came here. Pictures which made my tears to fall down....it was really touchin'..
“Two years ago one of our brother got asthma, which affects many people in the camps because of the unhygienic conditions and the very humid houses, as well as the stench of garbage and sewage. In most places, asthma isn't a serious disease and it's curable if you have the right medicine and treatment. But he died of asthma. Why? Because we could only treat him at the clinic reserved for Palestinian people. At those clinics the doctors would give him a prescription without even doing any tests or checkups. So we would go to the pharmacy attached to the clinic and they would say that they didn't have the medication. They told us we would find it at the fancy pharmacies and medicine warehouses. But it would be very expensive and we couldn't afford it. The whole family works just to be able to afford food and rent. One day my brother's condition got worse, and he needed oxygen in a hospital emergency room. But no hospital would take us. So my brother died because of a minor illness, while our kings don't even die of a major illness like cancer or AIDS. My brother died like most refugees in the camps, from minor illnesses they get because of conditions in the camp: pollution due to the mixing of running water with sewage, or humidity, or the stench of garbage, or poverty and malnutrition. Should we die simply because we are Palestinians without land and because we are a displaced people without a nationality?”
Never will the Jews or the Christians be satisfied with thee unless thou follow their form of religion. Say: "The Guidance of Allah,-that is the (only) Guidance." Wert thou to follow their desires after the knowledge which hath reached thee, then wouldst thou find neither Protector nor helper against Allah” Al-Baqarah : 120