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On this July 6th in 1978, fighting once again erupted in Beirut, getting worse than it had been days before. Syrian troops of the Arab peacekeeping force battledwith right wing Christian phalangist militia units, using rockets, artillery, tanks and machine guns. The Right Wing Phalangist Party Radio called the seven-hour fight the “worst catastrophe Lebanon has ever seen”. And Lebanese President Elias Sarkis threatened to resign because of the shelling of residential areas by the Syrians. The broadcast went on to say that government leaders as well as American Ambassador Richard Parker had been trying to persuade Sarkis not to quit.
At one point during the day, Israel took to take a reactive step by sending warplanes over Beirut amid new fighting that was developing between Syrian forces and the Christian militia. And Israeli Army spokesman said the planes took no action, but observers there took the mission as a warning to the Syrians to ease their pressure on the Christians in Lebanon. In Jerusalem, the Director General of the Prime Minister’s office accused the Syrians of performing a massacre against Christian civilians in Beirut.
Meanwhile, The United States, still working for the resumption of Middle-East peace negotiations was putting great expectations on an upcoming meeting between the Israeli and Egyptian Foreign Ministers. Hopes were that Israel would send Moishe Dayan to London later on in the month to meet with Secretary of State Vance and Egyptian Foreign Minister Kamul. The U.S. had no preconceived notions that the Israelis could or would accept the Egyptian peace proposal. Egypt had already rejected the Israeli proposal which was submitted the previous December. Both the Israeli and Egyptian proposals had elements which overlapped, and it was the hope of the U.S. those overlapping points could serve as a place to build from.
All that, and so much more for this July 6, 1978 as reported by The CBS World News Roundup.