Palestine Liberation Organisation leader Yasser Arafat claimed on May 20 that Israel had massed five military divisions in Lebanon and he expected, as he called it, 'big events' in the next few days.
SCU PLO leader Yasser Arafat speaking (ARABIC AND ENGLISH SOT)
SV Arafat leaves with PLO supporters
TRANSCRIPT (SEQUENCE ONE):
ARAFAT: "Five divisions now have been massed inside Lebanon in front our Palestine forces and the Syrian forces and besides your have to remember the threats and the statements which had been declared by the official spokesman and by the leaders of the Israeli army and by the statements which have been declared by other political officials. And we have to remember in that case also, that these statements, which had been declared by the American officials give very serious and very dangerous signals for the next coming few days, through which we are expecting big events."
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Background: Palestine Liberation Organisation leader Yasser Arafat claimed on May 20 that Israel had massed five military divisions in Lebanon and he expected, as he called it, 'big events' in the next few days. Speaking to a Visnews crew in the eastern Lebanese town of Shtoura, Mr. Arafat said statement by United States officials had given very serious and dangerous signals. The PLO chairman made his comments after leaving a meeting of PLO military leaders in Shtoura, which is behind Syrian lines about 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the Syrian border. Mr. Arafat has visited eastern Lebanon from the Syrian capital of Damascus at least five times int he past week, ostensibly to boost the morale of Palestine forces in Lebanon, estimated at over 6,000 men. Israeli military officers outside the Lebanese capital of Beirut, asked to comment on Mr. Arafat's remarks, said they could not reveal details of Israel's troop deployment for security reasons. There have been numerous reports in Lebanon recently of Israel and Syria fortifying their positions in the country after the Syrian rejection of the United States peace plan for the Lebanon. Under the plan, Israel has agreed to withdraw its forces from Lebanon simultaneously with the Syrians. But Syria's President Assad has already refused to do so, denouncing the plan as a Lebanese submission.