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Setback Seen for PLO

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The Palestine Liberation Organization’s claim that it is the sole representative of the Palestinian people has been dealt a severe blow as a result of the Lebanese war, it was stated here by Shlomo Avineri, the director general of the Foreign Ministry.

Speaking at B’nai B’rith House, he said that the previous seeming unity of the PLO has been rent by infighting and by its conflicts with various Arab countries. Part of the PLO, Avineri noted, is in conflict with the Egyptians, part of it is in conflict with the Syrians and one part of the PLO is battling another part. “Sometimes, one part of the PLO doesn’t know who is firing at whom, or why,” he said. Whatever the outcome of the Lebanese struggle, either in the short-run or long-run, the world will not accept the PLO’s previous claim, Avineri asserted. Furthermore, he said; “it is difficult to see how it may regain its former position.”

Meanwhile, he noted, Israel has to maneuver between two possible dangerous developments: either the creation of a Palestine-dominated Moslem state in Lebanon or the annexation of Lebanon by Syria. Israel must watch both developments and act accordingly, Avineri said, adding that Israel would not be able to accept either of these.

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