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As Lebanon tries to build walls, Palestinian initiatives traverse them

As the Lebanese army and Palestinian officials in the country are debating the issue of the now halted construction of a wall around the Ain al-Hilweh camp, other Palestinians are launching civil initiatives to raise awareness about the refugees’ future.
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BEIRUT — The Lebanese army has started building a wall around Ain al-Hilweh, perhaps the country’s most restive Palestinian refugee camp, located in the southern city of Saida. Walls — like borders — come laden with symbolism, not least for Palestinian refugees.

Although now on hold, construction on the Ain al-Hilweh wall reportedly got underway at the end of November with the blessing of Palestinian factions inside the camp following months of tension between the Lebanese army and armed factions within. A local Hamas official commented that the wall “aims to decrease the confrontation between [Ain al-Hilweh’s] inhabitants and the army.” Many camp residents didn’t see things that way, though, drawing comparisons to Israel’s “separation barrier” in the occupied territories.

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