A group of representatives from the “Strong Lebanon” bloc proposed an urgent amendment to the third article of Law No.194 (protection of areas damaged as a result of the Beirut Port explosion and support for its reconstruction) in relation to the provisions which prevent the disposal and sale in the immediate areas surrounding the Port, namely Saifi, Al Mudawwar and Rmeil.
This proposal adds a new exception to the provisions of prevention and freezing that previously included real estate developers and Solidere, which include the cases of real estate sales that occur between primary branches (including one’s father, mother, grandfather, grandmother and their fathers) and secondary branches (including one’s sons, daughters, sons’ sons, and sons’ daughters) up to the fourth degree, that is, between relatives.
It is striking that the proposal stresses explicitly and through its foundational reasons to protect the “identity” of the region, which confirms the sectarian dimension it carries, thus pursuing efforts to protect the “sectarian identity” of certain regions.
The amendment is also made to facilitate the process of selling properties, especially to influential people and to real estate developers, particularly in the time that follows the end of the freezing period, through transferring ownership from collective to individual.
Thus, it has direct repercussions on the owners of the smaller shares, who will find themselves forced to sell, and on the tenants, exposing them to eviction and displacement, in light of the failure to achieve a full recovery in the affected areas and in light of the stifling economic crisis.
Lastly, the timing of the proposal, on the one hand, and the urgency to pass it, on the other, raises questions about the possibility of its connection to the upcoming parliamentary elections, which makes it seem as an attempt to provide voters, particularly those who are joint property owners in the affected areas, with services in return for votes.