Leader of Ultra-rightwing Christian Group in Lebanon Says Lebanon Should Sign Peace and Mutual Defen
Menu JTA Search

Leader of Ultra-rightwing Christian Group in Lebanon Says Lebanon Should Sign Peace and Mutual Defen

Download PDF for this date

Ettienne Sacre, leader of the ultra-rightwing “Guardians of the Cedars” movement in Lebanon, declared here today that Lebanon should not only sign a formal peace treaty with Israel but also a treaty of mutual defense, and fully backed Israel’s terms for withdrawing its forces from Lebanon.

Sacre, a Maronite Christian also known as Abu Arz, demanded that all Palestinians be forced to leave Lebanon and claimed that the Syrians and the Palestine Liberation Organization “are now already coming back to Beirut.”

He refused to condemn the massacre of Palestinians in the Shatila and Sabra refugee camps in west Beirut last September, calling the killings a Lebanese reaction to “eight years of bloody fighting and killings” which culminated in the assassination of Lebanon’s President-elect Bashir Gemayel, leader of the Christian Phalangists.


During his two-day visit to Israel, Sacre and his associates were received by Premier Menachem Begin and met with officials of the Foreign Ministry and members of the Knesset Foreign Affairs Committee.

The far-right movement he heads was founded in 1973 as a military and political force aimed at ousting all foreigners from Lebanon. The movement is described as a small, tightly knit unit among the various Christian militias of which Gemayel’s Phalangists are the major force.


Sacre attacked Lebanon’s incumbent Moslem Prime Minister, Shafik A-Wazzan as a member of the “old guard of corrupt politicians” and denounced him for making anti-Israel statements. He endorsed the Israeli position that negotiations with Lebanon on the withdrawal of foreign forces should take place “on a very high level, in Beirut and in Jerusalem, leading not only toward peace but toward a defense treaty.”

Sacre agreed with Israel that the withdrawal of the PLO and the Syrian army should precede withdrawal by Israeli forces. “Otherwise the Syrians and the PLO will come back to Beirut, and they are now already coming back to Beirut.”

He said he would like to see all Palestinians out of Lebanon because “They abused Lebanese hospitality and posed a demographic problem for the country. Let them go to the Arab countries. They are rich and empty,” Sacre said.


In other developments today, Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt narrowly escaped an assassination attempt when a bomb exploded close to the car he was driving in west Beirut. Jumblatt was hospitalized but released shortly. He is one of the chiefs of Lebanon’s Druze community which has been battling Christian militias in the mountains of southeast Lebanon for the past month.


Meanwhile, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, currently visiting New Delhi, called last night for the immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanon and warned Israel not to try to achieve a peace treaty with Lebanon while its troops occupy a large part of that country.

Speaking at an official dinner in the Indian capital, Mubarak said the Palestinian problem was central to the Middle East dispute. He criticized Israel for violating the territorial integrity of Lebanon. “We cannot allow sheer force to shatter the system we founded on the rule of law and legitimacy. Israeli forces must withdraw totally from Lebanon at once,” the Egyptian leader declared.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund