Lebanon News

Calls for a united political committee in Palestinian camps

File - Fatah members stand guard in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain al-Hilweh near Sidon, Sunday, March 16, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)

BEIRUT: The head of the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee met with Hamas’ political leader in Lebanon Monday to discuss a united Palestinian political committee and the soon-to-be launched elite security force for the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp.

“I call on Hamas and all Palestinian factions to play a natural role in fighting terrorism and combating the appearance of any cell in the camps,” said Hasan Mneimneh, expressing his full support for a political committee to work in coordination with the joint security force and the Lebanese government.

During the meeting, Hamas’ political head, Ali Barakeh, stressed the importance of forming a political committee comprised of all Palestinian factions in Ain al-Hilweh, adding that it was consensus among rival groups that allowed for the Palestinain elite security force to be formed.

“We will continue in a way that benefits from lessons of the past, by resorting to dialogue,” said Barakeh.

The Ain al-Hilweh camp has been troubled with sporadic clashes erupting between the radical Fatah al-Islam group and supporters of the Fatah Movement.

The 150-member elite force, due to be deployed July 8, will be responsible for maintaining security inside the camp on the outskirts of Sidon.

Barakeh regards the project as the successful start of a wider Palestinian initiative, saying that “subsequent steps would initiate joint security and political forces in the Beddawi and Burj al-Barajneh camps.”

Barakeh pointed out that Hamas’ policy rejects intervention in internal Lebanese affairs and opposes any measure that would bring Lebanon into conflict with Israel.

“What the Lebanese hope for when it comes to Palestinians is what they hope for themselves – neutrality in the face of inter-Arab problems,” said Mneimneh.

Barakeh also referred to a shootout in the Shatila camp that claimed the lives of two men last week, urging Lebanese security forces to capture the gunmen and refer them to relevant judicial authorities.

Mneimneh also briefed Brakeh about Prime Minister Tammam Salam’s efforts to secure funds for the rebuilding of the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in north Lebanon, which was leveled in 2007 following clashes between the Lebanese Army and Fatah al-Islam.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 08, 2014, on page 3.




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