NEW YORK (May. 14)
Moslems and Druze as well as Christians in southern Lebanon look to Israel to protect their security, Premier Menachem Begin’s chief media advisor said today. Dan Pattir, currently on a brief visit to the United States, told a news conference at the office of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations that more than half of the 60,000 Lebanese living in the area south of the Litani River are Moslems and Druze. He said they lived and worked in friendship and cooperation with their Christian neighbors.
“Moslem units have joined Christian forces under the command of Maj. (Sood) Haddad to protect the security of their homes and farms against PLO terrorist attacks, “Pattir said.”In so doing, they are serving also to protect Israel’s security.”
Pattir charged that the United Nations peacekeeping force in Lebanon had “failed in its mission of keeping the area free of PLO terrorists. As a result, Israel must assume that responsibility itself and will press its attacks on PLO controlled areas until the Palestinians can no longer conduct raids across the border.”
He said there was “increasing activity” by the PLO against Israel coming from territories that were supposed to be secured by United Nations Interim force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). Pattir added that Israel had vowed that “southern Lebanon will no longer be a jumping off point for PLO attacks against Israel” necessitating stepped up “search and destroy” actions by the Israeli defense forces by land, sea and air “as long as UNIFIL remains helpless to prevent PLO incursions against Israel.”