The prospect of permanent settlement in Lebanon of its Palestinian refugees has been in the back of minds for awhile. There are almost 500,000 Palestinian refugees in the country, according to UNRWA. Some have lived there for more than 60 years and still remain in refugee camps.
While Palestinians steadfastly hold on to the idea of returning to their homes in what is now Israel, a columnist for Lebanon Now notes that the length of their time already in Lebanon and the depth of their roots in the country make it likely that many will remain in Lebanon permanently. However, their Sunni religious affiliation could disrupt the tenuous balance in Lebanon struck between Christians and Sunni and Shiite Muslims.
The fact is, there is no sign whatsoever that Lebanon's Sunnis, backed by the United States and the international community, have any plan to permanently settle Palestinian refugees. … Is there any chance that Palestinian refugees will actually be made to leave Lebanon? The answer to that question is "very likely no," since the Lebanese government is not about to massively expel Palestinians. After 60 years of the refugees living in our country – three generations – no one should seriously expect most of them to pack up and return home, particularly as most of their forbearers came in 1948, so that their homes are in what is today Israel proper.