• Short Summary

    INTRODUCTION: According to Palestine Liberation Organisation chairman Yasser Arafat, Palestinian guerrillas are ready for war against Israel.

  • Description

    GV PLO students on parade.

    CU Arafat takes salute.

    GV Students march past.

    CU PAN FROM Officials TO Arafat speaking in Arabic.

    Initials JS

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: INTRODUCTION: According to Palestine Liberation Organisation chairman Yasser Arafat, Palestinian guerrillas are ready for war against Israel. In a statement published in Beirut the PLO leader said Jewish civilians would not be spared in any renewed fighting. Expressing doubts about the truce in southern Lebanon which followed 15 days of conflict in July, Yasser Arafat claimed Israel is preparing for a series of fresh attacks on the Palestinian and Lebanese people. At a graduation ceremony for members of new Fatah Commando organisation on Thursday (4 September), he praised the support given to the people of Lebanon by Syria.

    SYNOPSIS: The graduation took place at a camp near Damascus in Syria. Around 500 Fatah commandos were on parade, after completing four weeks' training.

    It is now something of a tradition for Yasser Arafat to take the salute at the graduation march past, and the PLO leader normally uses the opportunity to address the students.

    With an uneasy peace prevailing in the Middle East, Yasser Arafat spoke of the fighting that took place in July in southern Lebanon.

    He praised Syria and the people of Syria for their support of Lebanon. He said the alliance between Syria, the National Movement in Lebanon and the Palestinians was a valuable example in the history of the Arab nation. The PLO leader called on the Palestinians and the Arabs to follow the path of Saddam Hussein to liberate Palestine and Jerusalem. He was referring to Iraq's President.

    The Palestine Liberation Organisation was founded in Cairo in 1964. Yasser Arafat is head of all Fatah, the main faction, having held that position for the past 12 years. He has deliberately and skillfully steered the PLO towards acceptability by the world community in that time, having gained observer status for the organisation by the United Nations in 1974. Although they are without the sophisticated weaponry of the Israelis, the Palestinians can but up a creditable performance as they showed during the July fighting in Lebanon.

    The PLO is thought to have Soviet-made tanks and Israeli intelligence sources believe that PLO pilots are being trained is Soviet jet fighters by the Libyans. Most of the troops are controlled by Yasser Arafat's Al Fatah and its military wing, the Palestine Liberation Army.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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