LONDON (Jan. 16)
Observers here suggested today that the new Lebanese Government headed by a Moslem, Rashid Karami, replacing the one that resigned 11 days ago because of Israel’s Dec. 28 reprisal raid on the Beirut International Airport, would maintain the long-standing Lebanese policy of avoiding direct confrontation with Israel. A political crisis developed when students and leftists threatened riots because the airport had not been defended. They demanded general conscription, punishment of persons who failed to guard the airport and freedom for Arab guerrillas to use Lebanon as a base for actions against Israel. The Government ordered conscription and started a probe of the airport situation. Observers argued that a formal stand of Government opposition against guerrilla training or use of Lebanon as a staging area would continue under Premier Karami. Israel has complained that in recent weeks Arab terrorists have been shooting at Israeli settlements from within Lebanese territory and charged that the two guerrillas who shot up an El Al plane in Athens on Dec. 26 came from Beirut.
(Defense Minister Moshe Dayan told a group of high school students in Tel Aviv that Israel would keep hitting back “with an iron fist” against attacks from Arab nations providing bases for guerrillas. He said that if Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq train, encourage and finance terrorists to fight Israel, “they have to expect us to hit back.”)
The Financial Times reported here today from Beirut that the new anti-Israel policies of French President Charles de Gaulle already were paying dividends in the Arab world. The Lebanese press reported that at the forthcoming conference of the Arab League, the Lebanese delegation will propose that the conference approve a resolution providing import priority to French products in Arab countries in appreciation for Gen. de Gaulle’s embargo on weapons and weapon parts to Israel. The conference was scheduled to open in Beirut Monday. One proposal at the conference, the Times reported, will be that preference in Arab economic and commercial dealings should go to foreign countries which fully support the Arabs and which have no diplomatic relations with Israel.