Lebanon News

Hamas leads ‘honor’ initiative in camp

Palestinian carry on with their lives at the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain al-Hilweh, Monday, March 3, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)

SIDON, Lebanon: Islamist factions in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain al-Hilweh are undergoing a series of meetings to facilitate discussions on a security initiative spearheaded by the Hamas Movement.

The initiative, if agreed to, would bind participants – including the Islamist factions in Ain al-Hilweh, Hezbollah, the Amal Movement and the Army – to an “honor agreement” to be announced in detail at a news conference to be held at a later date.

The initiative is also designed to keep the southern camp, as well as other Palestinian camps across Lebanon, away from the repercussions of the war in Syria.

The Daily Star has learned that a Hamas delegation led by the movement’s representative in Lebanon, Ali Baraka, met with several top security officials who were briefed about the initiative.

Baraka also visited Ain al-Hilweh last week and met the heads of the Islamist factions to discuss the details of the initiative.

A meeting was held in the camp Wednesday expressly for the purpose of discussing the plan. Among the participants were representatives from Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Islamic Jihadi Movement and Al-Ansar Movement, as well as the emirs from Jund al-Sham and Fatah al-Islam.

“The participants welcomed the initiative, which aims to protect Palestinian refugee camps in general and Ain al-Hilweh in particular, from security incidents and Lebanese conflicts,” sources present at the meeting told The Daily Star.

“We have involved all the Islamist factions so that they can become partners in this initiative and come to an honor agreement,” the sources added. “We will leave no one behind.”

The sources added that contacts were ongoing between top security officials in Hezbollah and other parties over the initiative.

“They have given their blessing [to the initiative],” the sources said.

“Palestinian factions will pledge not to launch or be involved in any security incident whether inside or outside the camps, including taking in fugitives, shooting incidents, exporting explosives and exchanging security information,” the sources said.

“Security incidents are forbidden once the honor agreement is adopted,” the sources emphasized.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 20, 2014, on page 4.




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