TEL AVIV (Sep. 19)
The Lebanese border remained quiet last night as reports from Beirut hinted that a major confrontation may be shaping up between the Lebanese Army and the estimated 4000-6000 armed Palestinian terrorists based in that country. Several shots were heard across the Lebanese lines last night but Israeli observers believe they may have been fired in panic. Lebanese farmers did not appear in their fields early this morning, nearly 24 hours after Israel announced that all of its forces had been withdrawn from Lebanon following Saturday’s major assault on terrorist strongholds.
There were no signs of Lebanese Army patrols in the border area and it is believed that Beirut has not yet redeployed its forces after their clash with Israeli troops. Premier Saeb Salam of Lebanon was reported today to be trying to mediate between his own Army and the Palestinian terrorists in order to avoid clashes such as occurred between the terrorists and the Jordanian Army in Sept. 1970.
At issue is a series of regulations limiting terrorist activities in Lebanon, said to have been issued by Army commander Gen. Iskandar Ghanim following the Israeli incursion. The Voice of Palestine, a terrorist radio station broadcasting from Damascus, declared that the new regulations were not acceptable.
The terrorist radio claimed that the Lebanese Army has erected barricades to prevent Palestinian forces from returning to their positions that were overrun by the Israelis. It also claimed that the Salam government has issued an ultimatum to the Palestinians to keep out of key areas of southern Lebanon.
According to other sources, the Lebanese Army has issued orders intended to make sure that the terrorists live up to last June’s agreement restricting their activities. These include the stipulation that terrorists stay out of Lebanese towns while forbidding them to carry arms or to wear uniforms outside of their own camps. The Lebanese Army was said to be fed up with the terrorists who refuse to abide by an agreement last June restricting raids on Israel from Lebanese territory. Such raids have triggered Israeli retaliation in the form of wide-ranging air attacks against terrorist strong holds in Lebanon and Syria.