Menu JTA Search

Dayan Says Israel Has No Choice but to Keep Hitting Terrorist Bases

Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan today appeared to be supporting Defense Minister Ezer Weizman’s contention that Israel must continue striking at Palestine Liberation Organization bases in south Lebanon despite reports he had been urging a different approach.

Dayan had been reported as saying at last Sunday’s Cabinet meeting that the government should reassess its military policy in south Lebanon since it was damaging Israel’s image abroad. But in an address at his home in Rehavia to 300 American and Canadian Jewish leaders participating in the United Jewish Appeal’s Prime Minister’s Mission, the Foreign Minister said that Israel must continue hitting the terrorist bases despite pictures on television screens in the United States which evoked images of Vietnam.

The situation in Lebanon was described by Dayan as “a mess.” He said the country has no authority or army and is ruled by the Palestinians and the Syrians. Dayan agreed there were two types of Palestinians in Lebanon: the PLO, which must be attacked to prevent it from carrying out terrorist raids in Israel; and the 350,000 Palestinian refugees there.

Dayan strongly criticized France and other European Christian countries for deserting the Christians in Lebanon. He said France’s policy was due to its need for oil from Iraq.

The Carter Administration, according to Dayan, was being nudged toward a change in its Middle East policy because of the necessity of ensuring its oil supplies. In addition, the Administration is incorrectly assuming that a change in policy will bring support from Jordan and Saudi Arabia to the Israeli-Egyptian peace talks, Dayan said.

ISRAEL’S POLICY ENDORSED

Meanwhile, Weizman received endorsement for Israel’s policy yesterday from the Knesset Security and Foreign Affairs Committee and from the Likud Knesset faction. He told both groups that “we shall continue to hit the terrorists because it is the only way to ensure the safety of Israelis.” He stressed that civilian casualties are caused because the terrorists place their artillery amidst or adjacent to civilian population centers. In both the Knesset committee and the Likud Faction meeting there was criticism of both Dayan and the opposition Labor Party for questioning Israel’s military policy in south Lebanon.

South Lebanon, meanwhile, was quiet for the third consecutive day. Gen. Emmanuel Erskine, commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), said today that there was no evidence that Israel had used 175-millimeter guns or cluster bombs against the port of Tyre. He made the statement in connection with an American television program showing an empty cluster bomb canister and alleging it was used by Israel in an attack on Tyre.

NEXT STORY