Title

Brief historical overview of the Palestinian issue and the context of Palestinian medical professionals in Lebanon

Publication Date

1-1-2002

Degree Name

MA in International and Intercultural Management

First Advisor

Janaki Natarajan

Abstract

Palestinian refugees in Lebanon have lived a precarious life since their entry into their temporary home, Lebanon. Palestinians have not only survived through the years of being exiled, some have survived massacres, and others have lived through Lebanon's civil war, along with the Lebanese, which lasted more than 17 years. Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are treated differently from Palestinian refugees in other Arab countries, in that they are not granted the civil rights that other Palestinian refugees do. Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are excluded from living and working harmoniously with their Lebanese counterparts. And yet, many Palestinians who have lived and studied abroad have returned to Lebanon. But who was returning and why? The paper examines why the intellectual community, specifically medical professionals, have returned to Lebanon after being educated abroad. The main research question was: Why would Palestinian doctors who were educated abroad return to Lebanon? A look at the "push-pull" theory of migration with a focus on the economic aspect of the theory was considered. The "push-pull" theory states that people are 'pushed' from one country and 'pulled' into another, due in large part to economic reasons. The economic migration model of the "push-pull" theory states that the 'push' factors can include conditions such as high levels of surplus labor; while the 'pull' factors are represented by an urban demand for labor and advantages such as better wages. The research method used was a semi-structured interview process with 20 Palestinian medical doctors from Lebanon who were trained outside of the country and returned to Lebanon to work. The research is qualitative in nature, as an in-depth analyses of peoples' concerns were examined. Given all the social, legal, and economic disadvantages against Palestinian doctors working in Lebanon, those Palestinians who did return, returned for family reasons, nowhere else to go, and to serve their people. None of these reasons has to do with the economic or political theory of migration or better opportunity in the First World, as Lebanon is not considered a First World country. With regard to the Palestinians in Lebanon, the "push-pull" theory is in fact not central to the refugees' frame of reference. The hypothesis on the "push-pull" theory is invalid, as the issue is more related to nationalism.

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