INTRODUCTION: Fighting has intensified in southern Lebanon as left-wing forces seek to gain control over strategic positions overlooking the Israeli border.
INTRODUCTION: Fighting has intensified in southern Lebanon as left-wing forces seek to gain control over strategic positions overlooking the Israeli border. Israel, however, has strongly warned Palestinians operating near its borders that it would not tolerate further assaults on Christian right-wing Lebanese villages close to the border.
SYNOPSIS: Israel officially began cross-border links with Lebanon just over a year ago, although the start of the "Good Fence" policy, as it's known, is thought to have dated back much earlier than that. One such crossing is at Metulla, once a popular hill resort.
Many Christian soldiers, injured in fighting against Palestinians and their left-wing allies, come to Metulla for free medical treatment at an Israeli clinic. Some supplies, such as flour and vegetables, are bought in Israel because they're no longer available in Lebanon.
Foreign news reports say the Sherman tanks and M-16 rifles used by the Lebanese Christians come straight from Israel's army depots. And in return, according to the reports, Israel has gained two solidly-defended friendly Christian enclaves near its border.
Israel has said several times that it will not tolerate any moves further southwards by Syrian or other Arab non-Lebanese forces. Foreign Minister Yigal Allon says that the Syrian-supported Palestinians are trying to force Israel into military action to stop the attacks on Christian strongholds in south Lebanon. But he said, at this stage, Israeli intervention isn't necessary and has been rejected as a proposal by Israeli government leaders.