The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) has warned it may come into combat with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
LV & CU INT Palestine Liberation Organisation's deputy leader, Abu Iyad, speaking in Arabic at PLO rally at Sibline near Sidon (3 shots)
LV Audience seated listening
LV Abu Iyad concludes address and audience applauds
GV & CU Town of Nablus and sign (2 shots)
GV & CU Empty streets and shuttered shops (3 shots)
Major-General Emmanuel Erskine, the Ghanaian commander of UNIFIL, said this week that clashes with armed Palestinian groups were inevitable until the PLO altered its interpretation of the 1969 Cairo agreement. The PLO insists this allows Palestinian guerrillas to maintain an armed presence in South Lebanon. Genera Erskine said the situation faced in the Lebanon by UNIFIL was more difficult than the Congo situation 18 years ago. The problem was caused by the number of interested parties and unresolved issues, the Lebanese Government's difficulty in exerting any influence in the south, the General said.
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Background: The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) has warned it may come into combat with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). The possibility was voiced by the deputy leader of the PLO, Mr. Abu Iyad, at a rally in Sibline, near Sidon in Lebanon on Tuesday (16 May).
SYNOPSIS: An estimated 700 Palestinians gathered to hear Mr. Iyad call for Arab unity and speak of the thirty years of Palestinian struggle since the birth of Israel.
Mr. Iyad stressed the non-sectarian nature of the PLO and denied suggestions that the organisation was responsible for the Lebanese Civil War. But he warned that if UNIFIL became an armed obstacle to the Palestinian revolution, the Palestinians would not hesitate to respond with force. He also said the PLO was ready to act against Arab regimes which humiliated or illtreated it. Observers took this to refer to Egypt.
The day before the rally, West Bank Arabs held a passive protest against the Israeli state. In the town of Nablus, traders closed their shops to demonstrate their opposition to Israel. In the past, May 15 has been marked by violent Arab protests, including bombings, sabotage and riots. But this year's anniversary passed without incident, save inconvenience to shoppers.