In Lebanon, Palestinians are prepared to fight should Israel declare war on Hezbollah.

In Lebanon, Palestinians are prepared to fight should Israel declare war on Hezbollah.

Shatila refugee camp, Beirut, Lebanon – Palestinians in Lebanon have watched Israel’s assault on Gaza with simmering anger and are now facing the prospect of a similar fate if Israel wages an all-out war against the Lebanese group Hezbollah.

Hezbollah began engaging Israel almost immediately after the latter began its war on Gaza, which has killed more than 37,000 people and uprooted almost the entire population.

The Lebanese group has repeatedly said it would stop its attacks on Israel once a ceasefire took hold in Gaza and Israel stopped its bombardment on the people living there.

Israel’s assault followed a Hamas-led surprise attack on Israeli communities and military outposts on October 7, in which 1,139 people were killed and 250 taken captive.

Ready to go home

In the Shatila Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut, many people involved in resistance movements told Al Jazeera that they’re not scared, and would fight to support Hezbollah and the wider “axis of resistance” in the region against Israel.

But they fear for their families and civilians, worrying that Israel would deliberately target densely populated residential areas in Lebanon, like the Palestinian camps, where tens of thousands of people live packed tightly together.

“The Israeli army is just driven by revenge.”

Some 250,000 Palestinians live in 12 refugee camps across Lebanon, fleeing there after Zionist militias expelled them from their homeland to make way for the creation of Israel in 1948 – a day referred to as the Nakba, meaning “catastrophe”.

Since then, Palestinians have longed to return to their homeland, Hassan Abu Ali, a 29-year-old man who grew up in Shatila told Al Jazeera.

If a major war erupted in the country, he said, he and his mother would grab a few belongings and head to the border between Lebanon and Israel.

“I think many Palestinians will try to go back to Palestine at once if there is a war. That’s what people in the camp talk about,” he said.

Abu Ali said he believes Israel could bomb Palestinian camps and then claim they harboured resistance fighters, justifications similar to those it has used when bombing neighbourhoods and displacement camps in Gaza, according to rights groups and legal scholars.

Palestinians will have “no other option” but to return to their homeland if the camps in Lebanon are destroyed, said Abu Ali, adding that as stateless refugees, Palestinians face harsh legal discrimination and live in poverty in Lebanon.

“The only places I’d be able to go to are Palestine or Europe,” Abu Ali told Al Jazeera. “But to go to Europe, I need $10,000 or $12,000 for a smuggler to get out of here. That’s impossible.”

Our Correspondent

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