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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 May 2007, 16:58 GMT 17:58 UK
Press focus on refugee plight
A man carries a child past Lebanese soldiers as they flee Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, Lebanon.
Thousands of refugees are trapped at the Nahr al-Bared camp

The Arabic press is divided over the ongoing fighting at a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, with some papers arguing that the army had to act firmly and others maintaining that the use of force is not a solution.

Several papers view the Nahr al-Bared clashes in the context of the issues facing Palestinian refugees as a whole and call for the situation to be addressed.

One Lebanese paper warns that the events at the camp could be "symptoms of a deeper malaise" which may worsen unless a "realistic solution" is found to the Arab-Israeli dispute.

RAFIQ KHURI IN LEBANON'S AL-ANWAR

The Lebanese army is obliged to fight a war or risk facing a chaos. Only Arab and international support will help the army move on under a national umbrella.

TARIQ AL-HAMID IN PAN-ARAB AL-SHARQ AL-AWSAT

The battle confirms the Palestinian camps in Lebanon should be disarmed unconditionally or the price to be paid will be very costly for everyone.

EGYPT'S AL-AHRAM

Armed groups are the greatest danger to the existence of any country and they should be uprooted. The Lebanese army acted firmly to defend the country's sovereignty against 'great evil'.

EGYPT'S AL-AKHBAR

The talk of military action may not help calm the situation and remove the causes of tension.

WALID NUWAYHID IN BAHRAIN'S AL-WASAT

The Lebanese-Palestinian security plan in Nahr al-Bared is a turning point towards correcting relations between them after years of tepidity. A military solution will be impossible without consulting the Palestinian factions. Otherwise Lebanon and the refugee camps will enter a war of attrition that would benefit only those forces who want to undermine the region.

ZUHAYR QUSAYBATI IN PAN-ARAB AL-HAYAT

Palestinians do not want a 'refugee camp war' especially at this time when they are caught in the middle of a fight between the brothers Fatah and Hamas.

LEBANON'S DAILY STAR

The recent events at Nahr al-Bared... cannot be resolved only in Nahr al-Bared... If militants like Fatah al-Islam are symptoms of a deeper malaise, it is time to address that underlying issue and explore realistic solutions. The Arab-Israeli conflict is that issue, and if it is not resolved fairly and fully in years to come the certainty is that we will face far more virulent groups than just Fatah el-Islam or their ilk.

ALI BIDWAN IN LEBANON'S AL-SAFIR

The confrontation could have been avoided by seeking different solutions in talks with the main Palestinian forces in order to protect the lives of innocent civilians and get rid of evil extremist groups. The events at the Nahr al-Bared should be an incentive for the official Lebanese parties to seriously discuss alleviating the suffering of the Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon since 1948.

EGYPT'S AL-JUMHURIYAH

The return [of the Palestinian refugees] to their home and return of their usurped land is the only path to peace and stability in the Middle East, whether Israel and its allies accept it or not.

MUHAMMAD NAJI UMAYRAH IN OMAN S AL-WATAN

The army's shelling of the camp made it seem as if it was targeting Palestinian civilians and not confronting a banned terrorist force.

ABD AL-MAJID SWAYLIM IN PALESTINIAN AL-AYYAM

I wish that the Palestinians living in the camp had taken the initiative to drive Fatah al-Islam out instead of allowing it to force them to abandon the camp. But they see that the Palestinian factions themselves do not have the power to do this at a time when their government and presidency are busy with their own calculations and balances.

AHMAD JAMIL AZZAM IN UAE'S AL-ITTIHAD

Several groups - close to the Al-Qaeda at least ideologically but not all of them Palestinian - are becoming active in Lebanon. Given its proximity to the Palestinian territories and because of its Shiite and Christian communities, Lebanon has many easy targets for Al-Qaeda

TALAL AWKAL IN PALESTINIAN AL-AYYAM

The battle is part of a regional proxy policy that coincides with the current discussions at the UNSC on forming an international court to investigate the assassination of late martyr Rafik Hariri. This comes in addition to the attempts by some Lebanese movements to divert attention from the crisis paralysing the government by raising the Palestinian weapons issue.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.




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