In Lebanon on Saturday (31 December), the leader of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Yasser Arafat, attended a rally to celebrate the first commando raid by Palestinian guerrillas on Israel.
In Lebanon on Saturday (31 December), the leader of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Yasser Arafat, attended a rally to celebrate the first commando raid by Palestinian guerrillas on Israel. The rally was also attended by several thousand Palestinians.
SYNOPSIS: The unlikely sound of bagpipes drowned the usual revolutionary slogans as the PLO rally started with a march through the outskirts of Damour, a seaside town and Palestinian stronghold, 10 miles (16 kilometres) south of Beirut.
The purpose of the rally was to celebrate the 13th anniversary of the raid which took place on New Year's Day in 1965, when members of the PLO's biggest commando group, Al Fatah, laid landmines on a road in the Israeli district of Galilee. Attacks on Israel by units of the Palestine Liberation Organisation and reprisals against them by Israeli forces have continued ever since.
Among an estimated 2,000 marchers was the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Yasser Arafat, who took advantage of the symbolic importance of the day to re-emphasise his organisation's belief that there can be no peace in the Middle East until Palestinian guerrillas have defeated Israel in battle. In a later speech he told his followers that there would be "no peace, no surrender, only fighting until victory".
Mr. Arafat's attendance at the rally was well received. Crowds mobbed him and joined with him in making the traditional victory sign.
The PLO leader later left for Syria for talks with President Hafez Al-Assad.