Druze leader Walid Jumblatt said here today that "there is no more hope of any dialogue" with Lebanese President Amin Gemayel and that he is calling on all Lebanese Druze abroad to come home and join "the fight for survival."
Speaking two days after the Lebanese Army launched a new offensive against Druze-held areas in the mountains southeast of Beirut, Jumblatt said his people had "no other choice" now but to fight the Army.
There is "no way to compromise," he said. "Either they kill us or we defeat them."
He accused Gemayel of being "a butcher" and "crazy guy" who belonged to "the school of thought of Sabra and Shatila," a reference to the Christian Phalangist-led massacre of Palestinian and Lebanese civilians in two Beirut refugee camps a year ago.
Jumblatt appeared angry and frustrated over the breakdown in negotiations for a cease-fire and political settlement as well as the new Army offensive launched early Friday morning. He also seemed resigned to further escalation in the fighting, for which he partially blamed the strong U.S. support for the Gemayel government.
"Mr. Reagan thinks that to go out massacring the Druze in Lebanon he will be able to achieve the so-called Reagan plan," he said referring to the U.S. president's Middle East peace initiative of a year ago. "It's not an achievement for me."
Nor, he said, was it "the first time the Americans are committing such stupid mistakes at the expense of the aspirations of the people."
Jumblatt spoke to foreign correspondents after touring Druze positions near the front line at Bhamdun and meeting with Druze religious leaders in this majority Christian village four miles south of the Beirut-to-Damascus highway. Bhamdun was taken by Syrian-backed Druze forces on Sept. 6.
He spent less than four hours inside Lebanon before returning to Damascus.
Jumblatt indicated he had been ready to strike a compromise over the main sticking point in the cease-fire negotiations, the presence of the Army in the mountains. He implied he was ready to have it stay on in Suq al Gharb but had still demanded that it evacuate two other Druze villages, Abey and Kfar Matta.
But he said that Saudi or other mediation was, for the moment, "hopeless" and would remain so at least until the Army halted its offensive.
Asked if he would then resume cease-fire talks, he replied, "If he Gemayel stops, we'll see, definitely."
But he seemed to think Gemyel was now too sure of American backing for his government and military offensive in the mountains to stop the Army's drive.
Jumblatt charged that the government's assertions of Palestinian involvement with the Druze militias had been "just an excuse to launch an offensive" and was "not at all true."
He said he had made "daily declarations" that the Druze did not want Palestinian support and insisted there were no Palestinians fighting against the Army around Suq al Gharb, the mountain village nine miles southeast of Beirut where the fighting is now centered.
No Palestinians were visible during a tour of the Bhamdun area along the Beirut-to-Damascus highway, but there were scores of fighters belonging to the Lebanese National Syrian Social Party, the Communist Party and the pro-Syrian Baath Party, which have all joined in the battle on the Druze side.
Lebanese and western intelligence sources say those Palestinians engaged in the war are concentrated around Suq al Gharb and number at least 1,000. But no western reporter has yet seen more than small groups of them, making it difficult to judge the veracity of these claims.
Despite his obvious bitterness at Gemayel, Jumblatt stopped short of asking for his removal as president of Lebanon and indicated he would still negotiate with him once the Army offensive halted.