• Short Summary

    INTRODUCTION: Arab reaction to the right-wind Likud party win in Israel's general election has been mixed.

  • Description

    GV EXTERIOR: soldiers outside

    SV: Pierre Gemayel leader of Lebanese Falangist party speaking to newsmen in French

    Initials CS RH/JB/DK/1710

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: INTRODUCTION: Arab reaction to the right-wind Likud party win in Israel's general election has been mixed. likud leader Menachem begin has been described as an 'enlightened conservative' by Dory Chamoun - son of National Liberal party leader Camille Chamoun - but members of the Palestine Liberation organisation (PLO) have warned that Mr. Begin's success may have brought closer the danger of another Middle East war.

    SYNOPSIS: Lebanon's capital, beirut - where Lebanon's right-wing Falange party leader Pierre Gemayel was another of those with some praise for the Israeli election results. In the past, Israel has given support to Lebanon's rightists in their continuing civil war with the Palestinian-left alliance forces.

    However, Lebanese Foreign Minister , Fouad botros, said on Thursday (19 May) that Israeli's swing to the right would not help to reconvene the Geneva Conference on a Middle East peace settlement. Mr. Butros said Likud's triumph had brought to power a group known for its intransigence and determination not to give "the rightful owners their right". This statement follows Mr. Begin's declared intention of increasing Jewish settlement of the occupied West Bank of the River Jordan. Such settlements have been strongly opposed by West Bank Arabs in the past, and the cause of many violent clashes with israeli security forces.

    PLO spokesman, Mahmoud Labadi also spoke to newsmen on Thursday about the Palestine Liberation Organisation's reaction to the Isreali elections. He expressed the PLO's great pessimism over the results, and have said that hopes for a negotiated peaceful settlement in the Middle East have taken a turn for the worse. The leader of the PLO's unified information department Mr Majid Abu Sharar has described Mr. Begin as a notorious international terrorist, because, as leader of an extremist group called the Irgun Zvaei Leuimi, he was known to have followed a policy of violence in 1946, aimed at establishing a Jewish nation in Palestine.

    Mr. Begin however, has said in an interview that he is personally ready to lead an Israeli mission into peace negotiations with the Arab states.

    The likud emerged from the election as Isreal's largest single political group with 43 seats in the 120-member Knesset.

    But Mr. Begin is yet to announce which parties will be included in his proposed broad national coalition Cabinet.

    And it is still to be seen if Arab leaders will be willing to talk peace with Mr. Begin.

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