TEL AVIV (Oct. 10)
Major Sa’ad Haddad, commander of Christian forces in southern Lebanon, warned today that the Palestinian terrorists are using the cease-fire to improve their positions. “It is clear to me they are preparing an attack on us,” he told journalists who were guests at his command post in Marjayoun village north of Metullah. He said he would ask Israel to warn the Palestinians against violating the cease-fire. “If these (violations) continue, I intend to use force against the Palestinians,” Haddad said.
He charged that the Palestinians were sending heavy reinforcements into south Lebanon where their numbers have increased from 6000 when the cease-fire was announced last month to 10,000 now. They are setting up positions nearer to Christian lines which they were not able to do before the cease-fire, Haddad said. He said the Palestinians were bringing up recoilless cannons, heavy mortars and other arms.
Haddad said the Christians were forced to accept the cease-fire and expressed amazement that Israel agreed to withdraw its forces from south Lebanon while the terrorists were allowed to retain their positions. “I can hardly understand how Israel accepted such a cease-fire even given the enormous American pressure,” Haddad said.
The Christian commander was bitter over the lack of world response to the plight of Christians in Lebanon. He said the Western nations had their own interests and were heavily dependent on Arab oil. “I shall not be surprised if they sell us out,” he said. “We saw how the U.S. sacrificed South Vietnam and Cambodia. Even the Vatican does not understand our position as it should. I think politics have even penetrated the perimeters of religion,” Haddad added.
He was skeptical about the ability of the new Lebanese regular army to establish its authority in south Lebanon. Under the cease-fire, the Lebanese army is to occupy positions evacuated by the warring Christians and Moslems and by Israel. But Haddad said that Christian officers in south Lebanon will demand that the new units be placed under their command.