ARAB-AFFAIRS - Apr. 7 - Arafat To Protect Palestinians In Lebanon.
Palestinian leader Arafat says he welcomed an Israeli troop
withdrawal from Lebanon and offers his protection to Palestinian
refugees living there. Arafat, whose PLO guerrillas controlled areas of
south Lebanon before being driven out by Israel in 1982, says: "I
say to our people in Lebanon, the Lebanese and Palestinians there, we
are with you and we will not allow anybody to touch you in
anything". (It is not clear whether his offer of protection comes
in response to recent tensions between Lebanese security forces and PLO
activists in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, or in anticipation of
possible unrest following an Israeli pullback.) To ensure Lebanese
interests are met following an Israeli withdrawal, Lebanese Pres. Lahoud
called on UN forces in his country to disarm Palestinian guerrillas in
refugee camps in Lebanon. Lahoud warned the Palestinians may try to
attack Israel after its troops withdraw from south Lebanon if there is
not a peace agreement in the area.