Lebanese media is reporting that Hamas remains in contact with Hezbollah over issues relating to the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. According to a report in the Daily Star, Hamas and other unnamed “Palestinian factions will also be temporarily in charge of security at the large Yarmouk refugee camp outside Damascus:
February 13, 2014 BEIRUT: Hamas remains in contact with Hezbollah to ensure the neutrality of the Palestinian refugee camps in any conflict and will block any threat to Lebanese security emanating from them, a senior official in the movement told The Daily Star.
Hamas and other Palestinian factions will also be in charge of security at the Yarmouk refugee camp outside Damascus temporarily as part of a deal to lift the siege on the beleaguered neighborhood and allow Palestinians who fled the violence for Lebanon to return, he said.
In a wide-ranging interview, Ali Barakeh, the Hamas politburo official in Lebanon, distanced his movement from the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and said his party was not involved in the unrest there. He also discussed the security situation in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and the party’s relationship with Iran and Hezbollah.
Barakeh said the Yarmouk deal would see securityin the camp handed over to the Palestinian factions, who would ensure that neither the regime nor armed rebels could use it as a base for operations.
‘We don’t want the camp to be used by either side, whether the opposition or the regime,’ Barakeh said. ‘Therefore, this is a transitional phase in which the Palestinian side will be responsible for security.’
‘The camp is under Syrian sovereignty but for this transitional phase, the Syrian army will not enter the camp so there are no problems.’
The security arrangement appears reminiscent of the 1969 Cairo Agreement that devolved responsibility for the security of the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon to the Palestinians.
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In January, the GMBDW reported that the UK Muslim Brotherhood had launched what was described as an unprecedented initiative to aid Palestinian refugees in the Yarmouk refugee camp
The Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp is located outside Damascus and was recently the scene of heavy fighting involving various factions in the Syrian civil war. A December 2012 BBC profile explained how Yarmouk became a Hamas center in Syria:
In addition to banishing the PLO’s leadership, the Syrian government came to see Yarmouk as an opposition stronghold and also arrested thousands of Arafat supporters. Afterwards, residents began to concentrate on commercial, rather than political and military activities. This resulted in Yarmouk becoming a centre of commerce in Damascus, and today tens of thousands of Syrians live and work there. With the PLO’s relations with the Syrian government strained, the Palestinian Islamist movements Hamas and Islamic Jihad sought to fill the political power vacuum in Yarmouk. Leaders from both groups moved in and recruited scores of youths to their causes. Hamas’s political leader Khaled Meshaal lived in Yarmouk until he refused to endorse President Bashar al-Assad’s handling of the uprising against his rule. Once the Hamas Political Bureau had relocated to Egypt and Qatar in early 2012, they declared their wholehearted support of the Syrian opposition.
The GMBDW reported in November of 2013 on the Winter aid convoy to the Yarmouk Camp scheduled that time for launch by the European Al-Wafaa campaign, an organization close to the Hamas infrastructure in Europe. In October 2013 , Palestinian media published an article with the title “European Institutions Express Deep Concern Over Catastrophic Situation in Yarmouk Refugee Camp.” However, every one of the 20 “European institutes” identified are known to be part of the Hamas support network in Europe, including the “European Initiative to Lift settlements and the wall”, headed by European Hamas leader Amin Abou Rashed.
The GMBDW also reported last month on what was described the “rapprochement” between Hamas and Iran following a three year breach as well as on the continuing decline of relations between Hamas and Egypt.