The Lebanese army has halted construction of a security wall around the Ain Al-Hilweh refugee camp in Lebanon, a Lebanese-Palestinian group in the refugee camps said in a statement yesterday.
“The Lebanese army responded to our demands and stopped the construction of the so-called security wall around the Palestinian refugee camp,” a statement by the group known as the Unified National Leadership (UNL) said.
During a meeting held on Thursday between the UNL and representatives of the Lebanese army, the latter said that it would halt the construction of the wall around the Ain Al-Hilweh refugee camp, though it was not immediately clear if this was a temporary measure.
According to the statement, the meeting came in the wake of different activities and several contacts made during the last week, noting that those efforts led to the army’s halting of construction of the wall.
The UNL thanked the Lebanese army for accepting their request to stop building the wall, stressing it would exert its utmost efforts to maintain the security situation inside the Palestinian camps to allay Lebanese fears that terrorists and organised criminals were operating within refugee camps.
Last week, the Palestinian Hamas organisation, who hold sway over the Gaza Strip, called on the Lebanese authorities to stop building the wall around Ain Al-Hilweh.
Hamas’ spokesman in Lebanon, Ali Baraka, called for launching “a dialogue with the leaders of the Palestinian factions about the reality and future of Palestinian existence in Lebanon,” stressing that his movement rejects any policy to isolate the refugee camp.
“Building the wall is bad for Palestinian-Lebanese relations,” he insisted, “and harms the interests of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.”
Hamas political bureau leader Khaled Meshaal also denounced the building of a wall around the camp, and communicated with several leading Lebanese politicians, including major players such as Saad Al-Hariri who is likely soon to be Lebanon’s prime minister.