The PLO's nearest equivalent to a Red Cross Society was called the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS). The PRCS supported hospitals and clinics for Palestinians in Arab countries as well as in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Prior to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, the PRCS operated ten major hospitals and eleven clinics in that country. These facilities provided a broad- range of medical services to Palestinian refugees at no cost or for nominal fees. The hospitals and clinics were severely damaged during the occupation of south Lebanon and the siege of Beirut. Since 1983, the periodic fighting in Lebanon has seriously impeded the PRCS's efforts to reconstruct medical centers and provide health services.
The PLO also sponsored numerous educational and cultural projects and operated an economic enterprise called the Palestine Martyrs' Works Society, better known by its Arab acronym SAMED, which ran small factories. SAMED's workshops produced such items as blankets, tents, uniforms, civilian clothes, shoes, handicrafts, furniture, and toys. SAMED was originally established in 1970 to provide vocational training for the children of Palestinian men and women killed in service to the Palestinian national cause. After 1976 SAMED decided to accept any Palestinian needing employment if work were available. Most SAMED workshops were in the refugee camps in northern Lebanon and thus were not affected by the Israeli invasion of south Lebanon in 1982. SAMED workshops and activities were disrupted, however, during the 1983-84 fighting between Arafat loyalists and dissidents in Palestinian camps in northern Lebanon.
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