Lebanon: Palestinian factions reach consensus to end Ain al-Hilweh crisis

Middle East Monitor  /  August 30, 2023

The Palestinian Fatah movement and Islamic factions in Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp in Lebanon have agreed on the importance of coordination between them to end the crisis in the camp. There were serious armed clashes between rival groups in the camp at the end of July and beginning of August.

The decision was made in a meeting that included Sheikh Jamal Khattab and Sheikh Abu Sharif Akl, the head of the Asbat al-Ansar group, in the presence of the National Security Commander, Major General Sobhi Abu Arab, and a number of Fatah movement officials. The meeting was held at the home of the Fatah leader in Lebanon, Munir al-Maqdah.

The parties stressed the need to abide by the decision of the Joint Palestinian Action Committee formed by the Palestinian factions represented in Lebanon in its meeting at the Palestinian Authority Embassy in Beirut. There is, they agreed, a need to work as soon as possible to hand over individuals wanted for the deadly events in the camp to the Lebanese authorities.

“This meeting was held given the expiry of the deadline for handing over the killers peacefully,” explained the secretary of the Fatah movement in the Sidon region, Major General Maher Shabaita. “A consensus was reached and the unity of ranks between the movement and the Islamic forces was confirmed.”

He stressed everyone’s adherence to the agreement reached at the embassy to hand over the killers to justice. “This can be done by strengthening the joint Palestinian force, which includes all factions, and to develop a field plan to bring in the terrorists.”

Shabaita pointed out that the parties agreed on the need for the displaced people to return to their homes inside the camp, and to go back to their daily lives. “There is no problem inside the camp, with the exception of the Tameer neighbourhood, which houses these takfiri groups.”

The fighting in Ain al-Hilweh started when gunmen tried to assassinate a Fatah militant, but killed one of his companions instead. At least 14 people were killed in the fighting, and more than 60 were wounded. Thousands of Palestinian fled from their homes in the camp.