Lebanon News

Dialogue Committee to push for calm in Palestinian camps

Abdel Majid Kassir, president of the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee speaks during an interview with The Daily Star in Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: The Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee is set to discuss measures to maintain calm in Palestinian refugee camps, which were the scene of violence over the weekend, the committee head said.

Speaking to The Daily Star, Abdel-Majid Qassir said the committee would study initiatives in a meeting Tuesday, but stressed that the Lebanese Cabinet and Army are capable of effectively putting an end to security incidents.

One Palestinian refugee was killed by the Lebanese Army in clashes in the northern Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared Sunday, sparking protests in Ain al-Hilweh the same day.

Qassir said the clashes in Nahr al-Bared erupted after a resident riding a motorcycle refused to show his ID to the Army at a checkpoint, following measures taken by the Army to control the use of motorcycles in the camp at the request of the residents.

The man disappeared before some camp residents began pelting Army posts with stones and Molotov cocktails, prompting soldiers to retaliate by opening fire.

Meanwhile, Sidon MP Bahia Hariri praised the Army for dealing “wisely” with the situation in the camps, demonstrating self-restraint and responsibility throughout.

“We also appreciate the great role that the [Palestinian] Follow-Up Committee had played in preventing things from deteriorating further in the [Ain al-Hilweh] camp and the [adjacent] Taamir neighborhood,” Hariri told a delegation from the Palestinian Follow-Up Committee visiting her at her residence in Majdalyoun, east of Sidon.

The recent developments in the camp were also the subject of discussion in a meeting between the committee delegation and Brig. Ali Shahrour, the head of Army Intelligence in south Lebanon.

Separately, an organization promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon called for establishing a neutral investigation committee to look into the killing of the three Palestinians, and for easing the strict security measures in Nahr al-Bared.

It also called in a statement for the Lebanese government to respect the right of Palestinians to demonstrate.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 22, 2012, on page 3.




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