JERUSALEM (Oct. 22)
Israeli military forces were on the alert on the country’s northern border today as the Arab world exploded in wrath against the Lebanese Army’s crackdown on Arab guerrillas using Lebanon as a base for attacks on Israel.
Reports reaching here said that anti-Government demonstrations by pro-guerrilla elements in Beirut forced the resignation of Premier-designate Rashid Karami. President Chartes Helou had selected him last April as the next Premier, but internal conflict over Lebanon’s relationship with the guerrillas had prevented the formation of anything more than a caretaker Government.
The Middle East News Agency, an official Egyptian organization, reported in Cairo that Mr. Karami said he was not responsible for the current fighting between the Lebanese Anny regulars and the guerrillas.
Iraq broadcast a statement that it was placing Is Army, “wherever it is stationed,” at the disposal of the guerrillas. The Baghdad Government also said that it supported Syria’s closure of its 150-mile border with Lebanon and threatened “firmer and more effective measures” to stop Lebanese Army attacks on the guerrillas. Syria said it closed the borders in protest against a Lebanese “conspiracy” against the guerrillas.
Iraq has 12,000 soldiers in Jordan and 4,000 in Syria. Baghdad sent a stiff protest note to Lebanon and said some 250,000 Iraqis protested the crackdown in Baghdad streets. Libya called home its Ambassador in Beirut and asked its Ambassador in Cairo to call an urgent meeting of the Arab League Council to consider complaints against Lebanon. A Libyan newspaper said “there is no longer any difference between Lebanon and Israel” and termed Lebanon as a “chess piece” moved by American “imperialist circles.” The newspaper voiced sentiments heard elsewhere in the Arab world that the United States had instigated the crackdown against the guerrillas. There was also a demonstration against Lebanon in Amman, the capital of Jordan.
Cairo Radio broadcast a statement quoting Yassir Arafat, the El Fatah leader, as pledging at a meeting with other guerrilla heads in Jordan that the guerrillas would not withdraw from Lebanon.
The Middle East News Agency quoted a statement by a spokesman for the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) as saying that 40 guerrillas were killed in fighting with Lebanese regulars. Fearing Israeli reprisals, which have taken place in the past, the Lebanese Army reportedly attacked guerrillas in a southern Lebanon village on Tuesday, killing a number and taking others prisoner. The Beirut Government did not confirm the assault on the village of Model Selma reported by the PLO, which coordinates guerrilla actions against Israel.
There are about 200,000 Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, many armed, who are ardent supporters of the Palestine liberation and guerrilla cause. Lebanon is the only Arab nation bordering Israel that has opposed the guerrillas. The commandos have been operating from border villages and Mount Hermon for months.
There were unconfirmed reports that mobs rioted in the teeming Moslem quarter of Beirut, stoning police from improvised barricades.
The United States, which has been under Arab fire for days for permitting its citizens to serve in the Israeli armed forces, was blamed for the Lebanese move against the guerrillas. Cairo Radio said yesterday that thousands of Americans were serving in the Israeli Army, and repeated past claims of U.S. collusion with Israel during the Six-Day War.
In Cairo yesterday, Yousef el-Sibai, editor-in-chief of the weekly journal Akher Saa, suggested that Egypt might accept volunteers, especially pilots, from non-Arab states like Pakistan, India, Russia and Communist China, to serve in its armed forces. Mr. el-Sibai’s suggestion came in the wake of the anger streaming from the two-year-old United States Supreme Court decision that American immigrants would not lose their citizenship if drafted into the lsrael’s armed forces.
The Belgian Foreign Ministry today categorically denied an Egyptian allegation that Belgian soldiers had served or were presently serving in Israel’s armed forces. The charges were made by Anouar Sadate, a member of the executive committee of the Arab Socialist Union, Egypt’s only political party, and published in the semi-official Cairo daily Al Ahram.