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Fatah welcomes new Lebanese law

Aug. 17, 2010 9:17 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 18, 2010 11:06 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Fatah said it welcomed the passing of a law in the Lebanese parliament on Tuesday, which granted Palestinian refugees full employment rights a spokesman said.

Party spokesman Ahmad Assaf said the decision was "a step in the right direction" and would lessen the burden on Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

The law gives the more than 400,000 Palestinians in Lebanon access to previously prohibited professions in the fields of medicine, law, engineering and finance. Concern over Palestinian influence on both the Lebanese economy and the political sphere both kept refugees isolated from the workforce and in the camps.

"The Palestinian presence in Lebanon is temporary and President Mahmoud Abbas emphasized this when he said we are guests in Lebanon," Assaf added, addressing concerns that the law would destabilize efforts to secure the right of return for Palestinians to their homes and a Palestinian state.

Thanking Lebanese leaders and parties, Assaf said the refugee issue will be concluded once Palestinians are afforded the right of return under UN resolution 194.

Agence France-Presse quoted a high ranking Lebanese official following the passing of the law, saying, "Parliament approved a bill lifting former restrictions on employment for Palestinian refugees, who will now have the right to work in any field open to foreigners with benefits including social security from their own special fund."
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