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Monday, May 07, 2007

Ein al-Hilweh: The proto-Gaza

Lest anyone think that the chaos in Gaza that intensified after Israel left the area is an anomaly, let us present Ain al-Hilweh, the largest Palestinian Arab "refugee" camp in Lebanon.

Ain al-Hilweh, which literally means "the eye of beauty," is a camp in Lebanon that holds 70,000 PalArabs in only 1.25 square kilometers. And the Lebanese army refuses to enter this camp.

To know how Gaza will turn out should see how Ain al-Hilweh is doing after decades of purely Palestinian Arab rule.

For years this camp has seen assassinations, huge amounts of crime, and Islamic fundamentalist influence. The PLO nominally led the camp from 1969 until a few years ago when the fundamentalists took over. For the past few years it has been considered the center of Lebanon's Al Qaeda faction. Just today, two more Fatah "officers" were assassinated in that camp. At this time there are no fewer than 5 competing groups trying to take over this hellhole.

Is it a coincidence that when you put a lot of Palestinian Arabs in an enclosed area that, rather than trying to make the best of the situation, they start acting like animals?

If I find the time, I intend to write an article to explain why they act the way they do.