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Ministerial Discussion on South Lebanon Situation Postponed

The Ministerial Defense Committee meeting on the situation in south Lebanon scheduled for today was postponed at the last minute, at the request of Defense Minister Ezer Weizman. No new date was set for the meeting. It was expected, though, that the subject would be raised at the regular weekly session of the Cabinet this Sunday.

Weizman reportedly argued that if the situation in south Lebanon were now discussed at this level, the Israel Defense Force’s operational activity would become a subject for a public controversy The subject has in fact already become controversial following critical comments made during this week’s session of the Cabinet of Israel’s bombings in south Lebanon. Weizman reportedly complained to Premier Menachem Begin about the leaks from that session to the media.

Speaking before the Knesset Security and Foreign Affairs Committee today, Weizman defended the army’s operations in south Lebanon, and reportedly won a wide support from the committee members. Weizman said that these operations prevented terror actions in Israel such as those on the Haifa-Tel Aviv coastal road in March, 1978 and in Nahariya last April.

He noted, however, that the defense establishment reviewed the overall policy in the area before each action in south Lebanon. He said the IDF responded with artillery fire only after the terrorists had attacked the area under control of Christian leader Maj Saad Hadded.

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