chapter  4
18 Pages

The parameters of factional power

Patronage and competing clienteles in the camp today

This chapter explores how factions retain their importance by identifying some of the forms of patronage and protection they provide to their refugee clients. It describes the benefits that individuals secure from relations of patronage give the system of camp control a measure of stability. The detrimental competitiveness of factionalism, often described as "fratricidal", it continues to thrive amongst the Palestinians of Lebanon, particularly amongst camp residents. The Palestinian factions reign in the camps of Lebanon by virtue of a number of factors, one being foreign sponsorship as they act as local proxies for other states. In the Beirut camps where the Tahaluf alliance dominated, pro-Syria factional officials were not strangers, as most of them were former members of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)-allied guerrillas. The influence of factionalism on United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is a long-standing problem, having been perpetrated by the PLO leadership in Lebanon.