Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon Call for Armed Struggle, not Summit with Israel
Palestinian radical and Islamist groups held protests in refugee camps in south Lebanon against Yasser Arafat's participation in the Sharm el-Sheikh summit on Monday, calling instead for armed struggle against Israel.
Hundreds of Palestinians gathered outside the Ain Helweh camp near the town of Saida for a protest called by the Democratic and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP and PFLP), both of which oppose the peace process.
"We urge Arafat not to meet with the murderer (Israel's Prime Minister Ehud) Barak, to declare a Palestinian state and to distribute arms to fight the Zionists," DFLP official Abu Ihab said in a speech.
An AFP correspondent said the protesters burnt US and Israeli flags, chanting that the summit in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh was orchestrated by the United States "to put down the new Intifada", or anti-Israeli uprising.
The emergency summit was called after two weeks of Israeli-Palestinian clashes in which at least 107 people were killed, all but seven of them Arabs.
Further south from Sidon, Palestinian Islamists burnt tyres outside the Rashidiyeh and Burj al-Shamali camps on the outskirts of the port city of Tyre and forced schools to stay shut.
But the Lebanese army stopped refugees from the Baddawi and Nahr al-Bared camps in northern Lebanon from travelling to south Lebanon to hold a demonstration on the Israeli border, a Palestinian source said.
Lebanon has stopped Palestinians from reaching the border since Friday after UN forces in the region reported that Israeli soldiers had orders to shoot at demonstrators who throw projectiles over the border fence.
On October 7, Israeli troops shot at Palestinian protesters trying to climb over the fence, killing two of them and wounding 17 - BEIRUT (AFP)
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