On July 22 all the camp leaders met with Hezbollah representatives in Sidon. “We may have our differences about the peace process. We may disagree over Syria. But we all agree on the importance of security and stability for the camp,” says Abu Ahmad Fadel Taha, the political representative for Hamas, Fatah’s rival. He says that many of the camp’s leaders have known each other since childhood, having been born at Ain Helweh and schooled together. “The friendships help,” he says.
He is less optimistic that trouble can be contained than his Fatah counterpart. Recently a jihadist shot dead a Fatah bodyguard in the camp and Abu Ahmad says there are problems between the Islamists and Fatah. “Sometimes things get out of line and can’t be controlled,” he says sitting in his bare office in the heart of Ain Helweh as a ceiling fan whirled overhead failing to cool the heat of the mid-afternoon.
Abu Ahmad also claims there isn’t a strong al-Nusra presence in the camp but admits the group has been recruiting inside. “There are guys inside in the camp who have this (jihadist) ideology in mind as there are in Tripoli or Akkar but always Ain Helweh gets focused on,” he says shaking his head.