• Short Summary

    In Lebanon an emergency cabinet meeting was held in Beirut on Monday (20 March) to consider the implications of the Israeli invasion.

  • Description

    GV INT Emergency meeting of the Lebanese Parliament in Beirut (4 shots)

    GV Shell busting near Tyre. (2 shots)

    GV and CU Israeli infantry troops advancing (5 shots)

    GV Israeli armoured vehicles moving along road (2 shots)

    GV United Nations vehicle drives along coast road.

    GV Damaged building

    GV Tractor towing cart laden with furniture

    GV Destroyed buildings.

    Christian and Moslem leaders in Lebanon are reported to be divided over the United Nations decision to send peace-keeping forces into the country. Two Moslem leaders and former Prime Ministers, Mr. Saeb Salam and Mr. Takieddin Solh have welcomed the move, but Christian leaders have expressed reservations. The Christians reflect the Israeli view that the only possible solution to the problem is the complete elimination of an armed Palestinian presence in Lebanon.

    WAIN: "The ceasefire came at the end of a day of spasmodic Israeli shelling. With the Palestinians firmly dug in on the outskirts of Tyre and with supply columns flowing across the Kasmir bridge it looks as if Mr. Begin's gamble has failed. The PLO may have been damaged, but they haven't suffered a crippling blow. The decision not to take Tyre was presented here as solely out of consideration for the civilian inhabitants. But the probable cost to the Israelis of an all-out assault on the camp must have weighted equally heavily. The bunkers and shelters in the camp meant shelling had little effect. Any attempt to overwhelm the camp would have met fanatical hand-to-hand resistance. And so the Israelis are in an embarrassing position. The plan that looked so good on paper -- a swift thrust into the so-called infested areas, which it was thought would be all over within a couple of day didn't work because it didn't trap the Palestinians. For Israel a lot depends on the answer to a key question -- where should the United Nations force be deployed? Along the line of the Litani river at the three bridges? That will take up at least one infantry battalion. Along the edge of the so-called buffer zone -- that's 400 square miles of difficult terrain, every inch of which is known to the Palestinians. Or do they try to control the Palestinians in Tyre -- heavily armed forces who would see themselves as the victors and the UN troops as the instruments of American foreign policy. And what about the vicious civil war between Muslims and Christians, which may erupt with renewed fury when refugees return to their looted villages and the??? the inevitable clash with the Christian militia? Will the United Nations try to keep the two factions apart? Will they try to disarm the two sides? And suppose UN forces are killed in the cross-fire -- what then? Above all what happens if there are renewed Palestinian attacks across the border once the UN forces are in position?

    Initials EP/0345

    NOTE TO EDITORS: Sequence (3) of this film showing Israeli infantry skirmishing through long grass, and including shots of the body of a dead Palestinian, is official Israeli film.

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: In Lebanon an emergency cabinet meeting was held in Beirut on Monday (20 March) to consider the implications of the Israeli invasion. As fighting between the Israeli forces and their Palestinian adversaries continued on Tuesday (21 March) it had become obvious that on the seventh day of the occupation the Israeli plan to cripple the Palestinians once and for all had not achieved its objectives.

    SYNOPSIS: Although the cabinet meeting was held primarily to consider the refugee problem -about 200,000 people are said to have fled their homes -- Lebanese politicians are also looking to Syria, whose role in the complex situation is now considered to be critical. The BBC's Chris Wain visited the town of Tyre on Tuesday as the fighting continued. Here's his report.

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    Film ID:
    Media URN:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Issue Date:
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    Available on request
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