As serious, fighting continues in southern Lebanon, recruitment to the Falangist Party, the country's biggest right wing organisation assumes greater importance.
As serious, fighting continues in southern Lebanon, recruitment to the Falangist Party, the country's biggest right wing organisation assumes greater importance. On Sunday (3 July) 3-thousand young Falangists took part in an oath-taking ceremony to declare their loyalty.
SYNOPSIS: The ceremony was held in town of Smar Jbeil in northern Lebanon. Falangist Party leader Pierre Gemayel arrived to a big welcome from his supporters.
There have been sings recently of a lack of unity in the Lebanese right. A couple of days before this ceremony bitter clashes erupted between Falangists and supporters of former President Camille Cahmous's National Liberal Party, the other main right wing group. Two people were reported killed and eight wounded in gunbattles in a Christian district of Beirut. The clash apparently began with a row between high school students, like those on parade at Smar Jbeil.
The Beirut battle was later played down the NLP officials who described it as an isolated incident and stressed that it didn't indicate any major differences between the two right wing parties. However observers in Beirut said that the fighting underlined lack of unity at both ends of Lebanon's political spectrum.
Through the NLP and the Falangists follow similar policies, Mr. Chamoun's party has taken a harder line on the presence of Palestinians in Lebanon -- seen by the Right as the main cause of the 19-month civil war which officially ended last November. However, although Beirut struggles towards normality under an uneasy peace, the fighting in the south continues -- as these young Falangists know only too well.