Hamas chief, Lebanon leader discuss refugee camp unrest

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh on Friday spoke with Lebanese President Michel Aoun to discuss the tense security situation at Southern Lebanon’s Mieh Mieh refugee camp, which has been rocked in recent days by armed clashes between rival Palestinian factions.

According to a statement released by Haniyeh’s office, during their conversation, the two men agreed that the clashes — which have pitted Fatah against the Ansar Allah movement — must end immediately.

Describing Lebanon’s security as a “Palestinian priority”, Haniyeh stressed the need to preempt any activity at the Mieh Mieh camp — or at any other Palestinian refugee camps — that might adversely affect the stability of the host country.

The two leaders also agreed on the need to allow Palestinian refugees to return to their homes in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.

Violent clashes first erupted at the Mieh Mieh camp on Oct. 16 between members of Fatah and Ansar Allah.

After a meeting of representatives of Palestinian factions held at Lebanese army headquarters, a truce was eventually hammered out, which called for the deployment of a Hamas-run force at the camp and the withdrawal of all gunmen from the facility.

Located some four kilometers east of Lebanon’s southern city of Sidon, all three groups — Fatah, Hamas and Ansar Allah — reportedly maintain an armed presence inside the camp.

First established in 1954, the Mieh Mieh refugee camp is currently home to some 5,000 Palestinian refugees.

By Mohamed Majed

GAZA CITY, Palestine

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