JERUSALEM (Apr. 27)
The European Economic Community has mode a diplomatic approach to Israel in connection with the situation in south Lebanon. In the first such move by all the nine EEC members acting in concert, Italian Ambassador Girolamo Nisio told Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir Friday of the EEC’s “concern” over the level of Israeli support for Maj. Saad Haddad’s Christian militia.
Both EEC, diplomats and Israeli officials described the European stance as “moderate” in tone and content. Indeed, Israeli aides noted that it was a good deal milder than the United Nations Security Council resolution last Thursday which deplored Israel’s incursion into south Lebanon and for its support of Haddad.
The significance of the EEC approach according to observers here, was not specifically in its wording but rather in the fact that the nine had gotten together on this issue and agreed on a unified representation towards Israel. This unity itself gives weight to the approach, it was noted.
It was apparently not a coincidence that the EEC view was delivered on the some day as the American Charge d’Affaires, Bill Brown, brought Premier Menachem Begin and Shamir a letter on the some subject from President Carter.
The Irish government had said a week earlier that it would seek to enlist both U.S. and European pressure on Israel to restrain Haddad’s men. Ireland’s diplomatic actions followed the killing of three Irish members of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon in recent violence in south Lebanon.
Begin said that he and Shamir responded to Carter’s message by saying that Israel would do its utmost to restore calm to the region. But they rejected allegations by the Irish contingent of UNIFIL that Israel was involved in the recent clashes between Irish soldiers and Haddad’s Christian militia. They also expressed surprise and regret that the U.S. had only abstained when the UN Security Council voted 12-0 last Thursday for a resolution deploring acts of violence and intervention but singled out only Israel for blame.