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Lebanon’s New President Favors Palestinian Arabs’ Rights but Not at Lebanon’s Expense

Lebanon’s newly elected president Suleiman Franjieh believes that the Palestinian Arabs have the right to “liberate their homeland,” but not if their activities jeopardize Lebanon’s safety by inviting Israeli retaliation. To emphasize this belief, he last year organized his own private army of 700 or 800 men for use if the commandos “got out of hand.” Mr. Franjieh, a Maronite Christian in a land where traditionally all presidents are Christian, was serving as Minister of Justice and Economy before his election. He is regarded as being generally favorable to the west and is expected to continue Lebanon’s present policy of permitting the Palestinian terrorists to camp in the country’s southeastern border areas and to cross into Israel to mount guerrilla attacks.