Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Beirut on Wednesday to
reassure Lebanese leaders that Palestinians living in the country would not
meddle in their internal affairs.
Some Lebanese have accused various
Palestinian factions in Lebanon of supporting radical Islamist groups that are
affiliated with the rebel forces in Syria.
At least 18 soldiers were
killed and dozens wounded in recent clashes between the Lebanese army and
radical Islamist groups in Sidon and the Palestinian Ein al-Hilweh refugee camp.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad supporters in a number of Palestinian refugee camps in
Lebanon have been accused of providing the Islamist groups with weapons and
The involvement of Palestinians in the unrest has sparked angry
reactions in Lebanon, with some politicians calling for drastic measures against
the refugee camps.
Nearly 70,000 Palestinians have also fled from Syria
to Lebanon over the past two years, further escalating tensions in the country,
which already hosts more than 450,000 Palestinian refugees.
meeting with President Michel Suleiman, Abbas announced that the Palestinians
were guests in Lebanon and would not meddle in the country’s internal
“The presence of Palestinians is temporary until they return to
their homeland,” Abbas said.
“We do not believe in resettlement [in
Expressing hope that the Lebanese government would protect the
Palestinians, Abbas said the Palestinians were not party to any conflict in the
Suleiman told reporters that he emphasized during his
meeting with Abbas the need to keep Palestinians away from internal conflicts in
Lebanon and Syria. The Lebanese prime minister said some armed Palestinian
groups were involved in the fighting in Sidon between the army and radical