Berri Warns of ‘Plots to Bury Palestine Cause’ after Ain el-Hilweh Clashes

Speaker Nabih Berri on Sunday raised the alarm over the ongoing deadly clashes at the Ain el-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp, in a rare comment over the recurrent violence there.

“Who benefits from preventing the Joint Palestinian Security Force from deploying in the Ain el-Hilweh camp after all national and Islamist Palestinian factions and forces agreed on its role in consolidating security and stability in the camp?” Berri asked in a statement.

“Is there an attempt to keep the biggest Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon a bleeding wound in order to cover up for the schemes and plots that are being orchestrated in black rooms with the aim of burying the Palestinian cause and usurping the last of the Palestinian people’s rights, which is the right to return to their homeland?” the speaker added.

“Our bet has always been and will always be on the awareness of the Palestinian leaders and people and their ability to thwart all attempts aimed at plunging the Palestinian camps, topped by the Ain el-Hilweh camp, into the inferno of internal and continuous strife, which only benefits Israel,” Berri went on to say.

The toll in three days of clashes in Ain el-Hilweh rose to five dead and 32 injured on Sunday, as local factions worked to implement a security plan.

Clashes erupted in the camp on Friday as Palestinian factions participating in a joint security force begun deploying throughout the camp.

They came under fire from a local Islamic extremist group in part of the camp.

The fighting has prompted security measures outside the camp, which Lebanese security forces do not enter by long-standing agreement.

An adjacent highway has been cut and patients moved from the Sidon governmental hospital next to the camp.

Palestinian officials in the camp called Sunday on remaining members of a group led by local extremist Bilal Badr to surrender with their weapons.

Ain el-Hilweh is home to multiple armed factions, and has been plagued by intermittent clashes between them as well as against smaller extremist groups.

The camp is home to some 61,000 Palestinians, including 6,000 who have fled the war in Syria.