WASHINGTON (Sep. 13)
The House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on the Middle East has set aside consideration of a resolution of inquiry into Israel’s use of American-supplied weapons in retaliating against Palestine Liberation Organization terrorists in south Lebanon, but the threat of a probe continues.
The resolution, presented by Rep. Paul Findley (R. III.), who has been in frequent communication with PLO chief Yasir Arafat, was considered by the subcommittee after receiving information on Israel’s strikes into south Lebanon from Morris Draper, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Middle East.
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency was informed that the full House Committee on Foreign Affairs also would not consider the Findley demand, but since the inquiry resolution is a measure of personal privilege any House member could bring it to the attention of the full House.
The crux of the inquiry is the extent of Israel’s use of U.S. weapons and whether this violates the Israeli-American agreement that the weapons are for defense only. Israel maintains that its strikes against the terrorist bases have thwarted further terrorist action against Israel.
According to House sources, the State Department view is that Israel’s claim to self-defense becomes unacceptable when civilians become casualties of artillery bombardments, although the use of U.S. weapons against military targets is condoned. It was said that many members of Congress are leaning towards this view but no action such as curtailing U.S. arms is being contemplated at this time.