LONDON (Dec. 21)
Soviet arms are being used to equip the “Palestine Liberation Army.” authorized recently by the “Arab Liberation Organization” formed by the 13 Arab League states, the Daily Telegraph reported here today from Beirut, quoting official “Arab Liberation Organization” sources.
The Beirut report stated that most of the arms being allocated to the “Palestine liberation Army” are being withdrawn from stockpiles of Soviet arms in Egypt and Iraq, which Moscow has promised to replace with more modern military equipment. Another Beirut dispatch reported today that Egypt and Iraq have named their joint military command which is to prepare for the military union of the two countries. Each of the governments has named 25 men to this joint command, headed on the Egyptian side by President Gamal Abdel Nasser, and on the Iraqi side by President Abdel Salam Arif.
The “Palestine Liberation Army,” authorized after last September’s Arab summit meeting at Alexandria–where a resolution was adopted unanimously for the initiation of a drive to “liberate” the portion of Palestine held by Israel–has already established training camps for Arab refugees in the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip and Syria, the dispatch reported. The military instructors are chiefly Egyptians, Iraqis and Syrians. In addition, Algeria has reportedly offered arms supplies as well as instructors, and is willing also to help train some of the refugees on Algerian soil.
Under the plans of the “Arab Liberation Organization,” headed by Ahmad Shukairy, former Saudi Arabian representative to the United Nations, all able-bodied refugees in the Arab states–with the possible exception of those in Lebanon–will be liable to conscription in the “Palestine Liberation Army.” Plans are under way to start a recruiting drive in all refugee camps next March, with six hours of radio broadcasts beamed to those camps daily from Radio Cairo.
Shukairy was quoted in the Beirut dispatch as having said that the Arab states have mapped “a studied plan for this all-Palestinian army and for action to recover Palestine.” “There is no hope,” Shukairy was quoted as saying, “that the Palestine issue will ever be solved through the United Nations. The liberation of Palestine will be realized only on Palestine territory and with Palestinian hands.”