While travelling in Hungary this last May, I met a Lebanese man…well, a Palestinian man whose family lives in Lebanon. I say lives in Lebanon, because they are technically not Lebanese. They have been in Lebanon since 1948 when they ran from Palestine to Lebanon as refugees. Because of Lebanese laws, him and his family are not allowed to get legal jobs, are not even considered “second-class citizens” because they are not legal citizens. After 3 generations, they are still refugees, living in refugee camps.
In some research I completed recently, I found that refugee camps in Lebanon and other countries surrounding Israel and Palestine instead of growing out, or shutting down like most refugee camps, have been growing up, becoming cities of their own. Cities filled with individuals who have increasing health problems, have to work illegally, and have no promise of ever being to go back home. You see, in 1948, their land, which may have been in their family for generations, was handed over to Israelis. Even though they may have the actual keys to a house in Israel, they will never be allowed back in. It is not their home anymore.
But the country they fled to is not their home either. They struggle to provide for their families, to keep their children healthy, to convince themselves they have a future.
This plight has occupied my mind ever since my conversation with this man. Today, at World Vision’s chapel, we had one of our Palestinian colleagues come talk to us about her experience growing up in East Jerusalem. She requested that I be a part of a group of people praying for a piece of this conflict: one prayed for people in the West Bank and Gaza who had their homes and land destroyed, and another prayed as a call to justice. I immediately thought of the Palestinian refugee situation.
Below is my prayer and a link to where you can find more information about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
God, I raise up in prayer to you the millions of people, the families who have been displaced by this situation. The UN has declared this the World’s Longest Refugee Crisis. Father God, many of them have been living in refugee camps for 3 generations or more, without a permanent home, unable to get a legal job, despairing that they are unable to care for their families, feeling like they are forgotten by the rest of the world. I thank you Lord that even though they may be forgotten by us here, they will never be forgotten by you.
Father God, I pray for the governments hosting these refugees: Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and others. Many of these countries do not know how to adjust with this influx, even after 60 years. As crazy a prayer it may be, God I pray that you will allow these countries to look past ethnic barriers to focus on giving these individuals the rights they deserve.
I also pray for the organisations helping these refugees, that you will give them the courage to advocate on their behalf, the resources to continue and the wisdom to use them wisely.
And God, I pray for the 4.6 million Palestinian refugees. I pray that you will give them hope and strength to continue, to provide for their families, to keep pursuing justice.
AlertNet Crisis Profile:
WV Middle East/Eastern Europe Website: