SIDON, Lebanon: Angry Palestinians set fire Thursday to humanitarian aid donated by Hezbollah in Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp, citing the party’s role alongside the regime in Syria’s civil war.
A number of refugees gathered in front of the Kifah School in the camp and held banners explaining their decision to burn the boxes of aid, which Hezbollah is distributing in a number of Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.
“We don’t want assistance soaked in the blood of the Syrian people,” read one of the signs.
The Palestinian Hamas party that governs the Gaza Strip has broken with President Bashar Assad’s government in the wake of the uprising.
Affixed to the boxes were labels reading: “A gift from the Islamic resistance in Lebanon to our Palestinian and Syrian refugee families.”
Tensions in the south Lebanon camp rose earlier in the week when Palestinians who had fled the fighting in Syria objected to seeing Hezbollah and Syrian regime flags on the trucks being used to deliver the aid. Two armed men on motorcycles responded by blocking the route of the vehicles.
The camp’s Popular Committees then decided to accept the donations and store them in a warehouse for distribution at a later date, to avoid tension.
However, at least one attempt was made to burn the boxes in the warehouse, prompting their removal to a second location for storage.
The offended refugees finally got hold of the aid when distribution began Thursday.
Elsewhere, Hezbollah’s relief activities took place without incident.
In Baalbek’s Al-Jalil Palestinian refugee camp, a ceremony was held to thank the party’s initiative, which included the distribution of 1,800 food packets.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on May 31, 2013, on page 3.