AIN AL-HILWEH, Lebanon (Reuters) - The portrait of Hussein Saleh al-Me'ari holding a slim iron key and the legend "We will return" hangs on a wall with peeling paint in a tiny room at the Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon.Interesting that Jewish settlers haven't taken over their homes. Why can't they return then? Ok, many of the houses have been demolished, but the land, who lives on the land now? Internal refugees. Are they so intolerant? Have they been consulted?
His 45-year-old son, Salah, was born and later married in the camp. Salah's four children and extended family live in a few cramped rooms in the sprawling, decrepit camp which is Lebanon's largest and houses about 70,000 Palestinian refugees.
There is no immediate prospect for any of them to return to the family home in what is now Israel, even as Israelis and Palestinians prepare to meet in the United States next week for talks on a Palestinian state.
Yet Salah still keeps 18 carefully folded, yellowing pages of land documents that show his father and grandfather own 67 hectares (170 acres) of land in the small Palestinian village of Akbarah, near Safed town north of the Sea of Galilee.
Salah's grandfather and father fled along with hundreds of thousands of other Palestinians in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war in which the state of Israel was created.
"It was winter. A rainy and bitter cold day in February. The Arab armies told them just two weeks or 15 days and we'll bring you back," Salah said nostalgically in the room where his father Hussein died in January.
Hussein's traditional Arab headdress and black cloak hang next to his portrait and a black-and-white photograph of Salah's grandfather, Saleh. Three copper coffee pots that Saleh used in Akbarah occupy the corner of the poorly furnished room.
"The 15 days have become 60 years," Salah said.
Anyway, the full article is available at Reuters.