National Interest Will Determine Israel’s Response to Events in Lebanon, Allon Declares

Foreign Minister Yigal Allon said today that Israel was watching developments in Lebanon “very closely” and that its decision to act or to forebear from any action would be determined by the national interest, the interests of security and the defense of its northern borders. The Foreign Minister spoke at a press conference for foreign correspondents following reports that an additional Syrian battalion entered Lebanon over the weekend accompanied by scores of tanks.

Allon stated that Syria “and all other relevant parties” know what constitutes Israel’s “Red Line”–the point with respect to the situation in Lebanon that might precipitate an Israeli response. No Israeli official has yet publicly defined the “Red Line” but it has been made clear in authoritative quarters that Israel would not tolerate a significant military threat along its northern border. Allon told the journalists that the “Red Line” was not necessarily a matter of one step but could be interpreted as the “cumulative effect” of ongoing Syrian action. Israeli sources place Syrian strength in Lebanon now at 8000 men plus another 4000 members of the Syrian-sponsored Al Saiqa terrorist organization.

WARNS AGAINST NEW UN EXPULSION MOVE

Allon said the time has come to end the slaughter in Lebanon but he did not offer any suggestions as to how that might be done. He said that Syria should have “thought twice” before it lent its support to the radical Moslem forces in Lebanon. Syria now appears to be intervening on the side of the rightist Christian forces in a turn-about that has international observers puzzled.

Speaking on another matter, Allon said he had learned this week that a number of Arab and Third World states were planning an initiative to have Israel expelled from the United Nations General Assembly. He warned that if Israel were suspended from the world body, it would respond by “suspending UN activities in the Middle East.” According to Allon, a number of Western states would act similarly if Israel were suspended from the General Assembly. He said that what happened to UNESCO after it adopted anti-Israel resolutions should be a hint of what might be expected. The U.S. and several other countries have reduced their cash contributions to UNESCO.

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