In January 1999, the new Lebanese government announced the lifting of the special travel and re-entry permit regulation for Palestinians issued by the previous government in 1996. This regulation, which had conditioned re-entry of Palestinians to Lebanon with a special permit issued by the Lebanese Department for Public Security prior to departure, had prevented the return of thousands of Palestinians, residents of Lebanon, who were abroad at the time of its issuance. The cancellation of this permit policy, a cause of division of Palestinian families and major source of bribery and corruption, had since been one of the major demands raised by Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. According to the Lebanese Department for Public Security, consultations between the Lebanese president Emile Lahhoud and Prime Minister Salim al-Houss and the Department resulted in the decision to handle Lebanese travel documents issued to Palestinians in Lebanon in the same way as Lebanese passports.
Following the recent cancellation of the special travel restrictions, Palestinians in Lebanon hope that the new Lebanese government will respond to some of their most pressing concerns. Palestinian refugees in Lebanon call for international support of the following demands:
Lift the Siege on the Camps in the southern (Sur) area!
Access to Social and Civil Rights in Lebanon, especially the right to legal employment and the right to register enterprises and institutions.
Increase international donor support of UNRWA so as to improve health and education services in the camps.