Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Fears of Palestinian Clashes Spilling into Lebanon | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat- Lebanese and Palestinian officials are holding intensive talks with leaders of Hamas and Fatah in southern Lebanon, urging them to prevent violence in the West Bank and Gaza from spilling over into the refugee camps, particularly sensitive in the ‘Ein Al-Hilweh camp, which accommodates more than 60,000 people.

On Saturday, an unknown assailant hurled a noise bomb into a hall in the ‘Ein Al-Hilweh camp where a Hamas gathering was taking place.

Officials are appealing to leaders of the factions to help maintain calm in the Palestinian camps.

Tension in these camps is already high because of the precarious political situation in Lebanon.

In other violence, Palestinian medics and security sources said a school student had been wounded in a brief gunfight between members of Hamas and Fatah, while unknown gunmen earlier abducted a Fatah loyalist in Gaza City.

Hamas and Fatah tried for months to form a unity government to end their power struggle, but the talks foundered, partly over Hamas’s insistence on not recognizing Israel.

However, Abbas’s election call could rebound on Fatah as the faction has done little to improve its standing and unite after being trounced by Hamas in January, analysts and officials said.

Despite a drop in Hamas’s popularity in recent polls amid an economic crisis and worsening law and order, Fatah risked losing the presidency and parliament to Hamas — assuming the movement took part — without serious reforms, the sources said.