JERUSALEM (Dec. 15)
Israeli officials described the situation in Lebanon today as “convenient.” They reported that the Iraqi and Libyan units of the inter-Arab peace-keeping force have departed from Lebanon during the last few days and Syrian forces have not moved south of their original positions.
There is a political vacuum in southern Lebanon, but Israel prefers that to a Syrian or Lebanon presence near its borders. The vacuum is expected to be filled in 3-4 months by a newly formed Lebanese army, sources said. They noted that since Syria occupied Lebanon, a tacit understanding has developed between Israel and Syria limiting their movements in the common interest. The U.S. was said to have been apprehensive over the situation in southern Lebanon but its fears have been allayed by the Israel Syrian understanding, the sources said.