The Israeli Defence Minister Mr. Shimon Peres, paid a surprise visit to the border area?
The Israeli Defence Minister Mr. Shimon Peres, paid a surprise visit to the border area that separates Israel and Lebanon.
Mr. Peres had earlier ordered that the border be opened up to Christian refugees fleeing the Lebanese civil war. Mr. Peres ordered the army to give Lebanese refugees free entry. The order follows cabled appeals from Christian leaders in Israel and aborad that Christian refugees might be forced to flee Lebanon.
Mr. Peres said that his opening of the border was a decision based on bitter memories of the Nazi era in Germany when many countries refused to open their borders to Jewish refugees fleeing from Hitler.
While visiting the border, the Defence Minister spoke to several Lebanese drivers who shouted to Mr. Peres across the barbed wire that separates the two countries. He also spoke to a number of Lebanese villagers that live on the border.
Even though the Israeli border is now open to refugees, no known Lebanese citizens have yet sought refuge. The possibility of large scale movements across the border from Lebanon now appear remote as the Lebanese civil war has now died down.