INTRODUCTION: The fourteenth anniversary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) was celebrated with a noisy rally in Beirut on Sunday (13 December).
BEIRUT, LEBANON (VISNEWS - MOHAMMED AWWAD)
SV INTERIOR George Habash (Sec. Gen. PFLP) arrives
SV Yasser Arafat greeted by party members
SV Arafat and Habash greet each other, amid cheers
SV Party members chant slogans with cheer leader
SV Arafat holds up party emblem, crowd cheers (2 shots)
SV Arafat speaking in Arabic
Background: INTRODUCTION: The fourteenth anniversary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) was celebrated with a noisy rally in Beirut on Sunday (13 December). Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Yasser Arafat used the meeting to launch a bitter attack on United States Middle East policy and other issues considered contrary to the Palestinian cause.
SYNOPSIS: The meeting also saw the return of the PFLP's George Habash who had been convalescing for several months, following surgery. Dr. Habash is an opponent of the Saudi peace plan and has accused Saudi Arabia of secretly supporting Egypt's separate treaty with Israel.
There was an enthusiastic welcome for Yasser Arafat. He was greeted by the young Palestinians whose guerrilla group carried out a series of spectacular plane hijacks before officially renouncing plans for a Middle East settlement in 1972.
After the two leaders had exchanged greetings they moved into the main body of the South Beirut hall to see a demonstration of loyalty by party members and supporters. The PFLP anniversary was launched with singing and the chanting of slogans.
The Marxist Front broke the PLO executive committee in 1974.
Yasser Arafat showed no signs that the split had damaged his relationship with Dr. Habash's group. He took a leading part in the celebrations, before addressing the meeting.
His first sharp criticism was of U.S. Special Envoy, Philip Habib. President Reagan's Middle East negotiator has just ended his fourth tour of Lebanon, Syria and Israel in a follow-up to the ceasefire he helped negotiate between Israel and the Palestinians in July. Yasser Arafat claimed Mr. Habib wanted Palestinian forces to withdraw from most of Southern Lebanon and for Syrian peace-keeping troops to pull back from large areas of the country. He told the meeting this was not acceptable and added that the Palestinians will not make concessions.
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