Palestinian activists in Lebanon and their supporters have been holding solidarity protests in the face of increased Israeli violence against Palestine this past week. (Credit: João Sousa/L’Orient Today)
The 73rd anniversary of the Nakba — Arabic for “catastrophe” — when some three quarters of a million Palestinians were forced from their homes to make way for the creation of the Israeli state, will take place on Saturday. The commemoration this year falls amid an escalation of violence against occupied Palestine as six Palestinian families in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood face expulsion from their homes. In Lebanon, activists are showing their solidarity in the streets, with protests across Lebanon and in several Palestinian refugee camps, and using online channels to challenge mainstream media narratives surrounding the Israeli occupation. Activists have called for a protest in Baalbeck at 1 p.m. on Friday.
The European Union is reportedly preparing to sanction Lebanese officials who are obstructing government formation while the country experiences financial collapse. Reuters cites six diplomats who said “technical work” has begun on preparing the sanctions. Although no names have been released, a senior EU diplomat told Reuters, “Expect to see a decision in the next hree to four weeks.” Lebanon has been without a government for more than nine months, while the lira’s value has fallen to a historic low, inflation is rampant and severe fuel and power shortages have become the norm.
Eid al-Fitr starts today, marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The government has announced a two-day total lockdown beginning at 5 a.m. to prevent large gatherings that could spread COVID-19. However, places of worship will be allowed to operate at 30 percent capacity. Restaurants and cafes will be closed for dine-in customers, but delivery services will continue operating. Residents will be required to apply for a permit through the online Impact platform or via SMS for essential outside visits, including to grocery stores, pharmacies and hospitals.