Inter-Palestinian quarrels yesterday erupted as Swiss aid workers and representatives from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency visited Sidon’s Ain al-Hilweh camp.
The row, involving members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) squabbling with Fatah and the popular committees, turned into a fist fight.
The fighting erupted when the PFLP and DFLP insisted on holding a separate meeting with the Swiss delegation, as all Palestinian groups were gathering at the camp’s entrance.
The gathering included Swiss ambassador to Lebanon Jurg Streuli and Unrwa’s chief delegate Huda Samra, who is also the agency’s information officer, and representatives from the Palestinian popular committees and the PLO and Fatah commander Col Mounir Maqdah.
But as the Swiss delegation waited at the camp’s entrance for the warring parties to calm down, armed Palestinians zig-zagged the narrow streets of Ain al-Hilweh and a roadblock was erected by Fatah members at one of the camp’s entrances.
Negotiations between the delegation and head of Ain al-Hilweh, Ahmad Flaifel, failed to reach a breakthrough, and the delegation was forced to leave.
Flaifel asked all sides to leave the delegation in peace, so it could tour with the camp’s director. Secretary of the camp’s popular committees, Abd Maqdah, accused the joint leadership of the PFLP and DFLP of instigating the row to destroy the visit because it had not been included. ‘Abu Ihab’, a member of Sidon’s joint PFLP and DFLP leadership said it had wanted to meet the delegation because the committees did not represent everyone’s needs.