BEIRUT/SIDON: Hundreds of protesters gathered in Beirut and in Palestinian refugee camps in southern Lebanon Tuesday to condemn an international meeting being held by the U.S. in Bahrain to launch its economic plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Demonstrations took place in the Sidon-area camps of Ain al-Hilweh and Mieh Mieh and the Tyre-area camps of Bass, Rashidieh and Burj al-Shemali, each attended by about a hundred protesters.
Several hundred attended a demonstration in Beirut, near Riad al-Solh Square in front of the ESCWA building, with Palestinians coming from across the country to participate. The protest was organized by the Hamas Movement under the slogan, “No to the deal of the century: the Bahrain conference must fall.”
The party’s representative in Lebanon, Ahmad Abdul-Hadi, dismissed the Bahrain conference as nothing more than an attempt to “sell Palestine and the Palestinian people,” according to a statement. “Even if you gave us all the money in the world ... we won’t let go of our land.”
The economic portion of U.S. President Donald Trump’s so-called deal of the century offers over $50 billion to jump-start the economies of Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and the occupied Palestinian territories. Lebanon’s portion would be $6 billion.
While the plan has not been published in full, observers have warned that it appears to offer an implicit deal to Lebanon and the other countries to absorb Palestinian refugees in exchange for the aid.
Lebanon has boycotted the Bahrain meeting and Lebanese and Palestinian officials in the country have denounced the U.S. proposal.
In Ain al-Hilweh, gunmen representing different political factions blocked the main entrance of the camp and burned rubber tires as locals chanted slogans against Trump and in support of Palestine.
Fouad Othman, head of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine in Sidon, told the Daily Star that the Bahrain workshop’s motive was “to end the Palestinian cause.”
The Fatah Movement’s secretary in Sidon, Maher Shbaitte, said, “President Trump thinks we can be bought and sold. No, Trump, Palestine is our land and we are coming back.”