PLO blames Islamists for violence in Lebanese refugee camps
During a meeting with Lebanese officials yesterday, an official from the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) and Fatah blamed recent violence within Palestinian refugee camps on the influence of “Arab Islamist groups”, rather than Palestinians.
Representing both the PLO umbrella group and President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah, Azzam Al-Ahmad met with Lebanese political and military officials in order to try to reaffirm influence over groups within the camps, stating the need to prevent factions from “profiting from the chaos”.
This follows the deaths of three Palestinians in the Nahr al Bared refugee camp near Tripoli after residents clashed with the Lebanese Army.
Al-Ahmad previously visited the camps in March, following a decision by Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas to integrate various military factions into one umbrella group, with political connections to those based in Ramallah.
With recent escalation in tensions heightening the potential for splinter groups to form, the PLO, which is the traditional assembly of Palestinian groups, and the secular Fatah are keen to reassert control of the situation for fear that the violence could increase.
Al-Ahmad also stated that the Palestinian refugees intend to remain “guests” in Lebanon and do not wish to be drawn into Lebanese politics.