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Palestinian and Lebanese concerns over a potential war: is confrontation possible?

Fatah movement members clash with some Palestinian Islamic groups at Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp in Lebanon's southern port city of Sidon on February 28, 2017. ( Mahmoud Al Zain - Anadolu Agency )

Lebanese and Palestinian Islamic leaderships in Beirut are discussing the following: “Genuine concerns regarding the intention of regional and international actors in exacerbating the sectarian and political divides in Lebanon and other Arab and Islamic countries, in order facilitate the onset of a new war against the resistance in Lebanon and Palestine in the coming weeks. Israel and the US are the lead actors behind this impending danger.”

These leaders have pointed to a number of events that have taken place in the last two weeks in Lebanon and other countries in the region. Among these factors are the following:

First: Promoting an increase of tension in some Palestinian camps in Lebanon as they relate to the rest of the Lebanese arena. Examples of this are the events that took place in the Ain Al-Hilweh refugee camp and Burj Al-Barajneh. Although the impact of these events is limited to a certain extent, the potential interference of a number of actors begs us to ask many questions regarding the threat posed by these tensions.

Second: The rise of conflicts within the Palestinian communities in Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank, coupled with the failure of every attempt to reconcile the Palestinians has led many to discuss the negative atmosphere in Gaza and the continued tensions between Fatah and Hamas.

Third: The revival of political and media campaigns against Hezbollah in a number of Arab countries. Not to mention that there is continued talk of placing Hezbollah on the list of terrorist organisations.

Fourth: The campaign waged by Zionists and some American actors against President Michel Aoun after he expressed his commitment to countering Zionist aggressions towards Lebanon and the discussion of several Arab parties on their decision to boycott Lebanon.

Fifth: The repeated Israeli threats against Lebanon and talk of the next potential war taking the country back to the Middle Ages.

Sixth: The emergence of factors suggesting that sectarian tensions will be provoked through the issuance of fatwas (from different Islamic schools of thought) throughout the region.

Sources from Islamic leaders in Beirut have stated the following: We are currently living in an atmosphere that closely resembles the climate just before the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 as well as the aggressions in July 2006, especially when considering the fears that have emerged after the new US administration. The current US government does not mind waging a war against Lebanese and Palestinian resistance forces or targeting the sources supporting these powers of resistance in the area.

Yet, do these factors lead to the promotion of new aggression or even a new war in the region?

The answer of Islamic readers is as follows: These factors do not necessarily suggest that a new form of aggression or a new war will take place; however, the re-enforcement of sectarian tensions is ongoing. Tensions will continue to rise in the coming period and this requires the resistance and its supporters to acknowledge the dangers of what they are facing. They must be prepared for all possibilities because in the era of a Trump-led America, one cannot deal logically with political possibilities because everything is possible.

According to sources, resistance forces in Lebanon and Palestine have purposefully promoted cooperation, coordination and communication between them in the past few weeks. They have demonstrated a joint commitment to countering the rise of sectarian tensions in addition to following the civil response to these tensions and the willingness to confront any aggression or coming war. Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, is expected to discuss efforts in this area in his speech on Sunday and the required response from both local and global forces.

In conclusion, leaders have urged the following: It is essential for us to be cautious and to work to improve the Islamic and political arenas. We must be ready to counter any negative energy and tension in the coming period. Our slogan throughout this time will be; “if you return, so will we.”

Translated from Arabi21, 15 March 2017

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