Menu JTA Search

2,000 People Greet Gemayel in Detroit

In spite of an announced boycott by nine Arab organizations in the Detroit area and his two-hours-late arrival, President Amin Gemayel of Lebanon was greeted by a hand-picked cheering audience of 2,000 yesterday for his speech in the Masonic Temple auditorium here.

Gemayel blamed Lebanon’s current problems on its occupation by Syrian and Israeli troops. He said, “Laughter and song will return to our native land” when foreign troops have left Lebanon. He told the audience that there was no reason for Lebanon to be reborn or rebuilt because “our Lebanon has never been destroyed.” Gemayel gave a similar speech in Houston on Saturday.

Ghassan Tueni, Gemayel’s national political adviser and publisher of the An Nahar newspaper, told reporters here that the meetings this week between U.S. leaders and Israel’s Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir and Defense Minister Moshe Arens were “crucial” for Lebanon.

Tueni said the U.S. made the “expected statements” last week after Israel announced its plans for a redeployment of its forces in Lebanon, an action the Lebanese fear will lead to a permanent division of Lebanon into Syrian and Israeli spheres.

While there were no demonstrations at the heavily-guarded Masonic Temple, a small group of Arabs gathered miles away at the suburban Dearbom City Hall to stage a protest rally.

NEXT STORY