Tel Aviv (Jun. 15)
Premier Menachem Begin told a cheering crowd of Likud partisans last night that if the U.S. does not succeed in getting Syria’s anti-aircraft missiles removed from Lebanon “then we will move them.” He implied a deadline for the efforts of U.S. special envoy Philip Habib.
Electioneering in Netanya, Begin said Israel was patiently awaiting the outcome of Habib’s second round of shuttle diplomacy aimed at resolving the missile crisis. He said if the Syrians cannot be persuaded to withdraw their missiles from Lebanon and from the Syrian-Lebanese border “Raful and Yanosh will ensure that they are removed.” “Raful” and “Yanosh” are the nicknames applied by Israelis to Chief of Staff Gen. Rafael Eitan and Gen. Avigdor Ben-Gal, commander of the northern region.
Begin insisted however that “There will be no war, but I promise you there will be no missiles either. It will take some time. No matter, we know patience. Now we are expecting the arrival of Mr. Philip Habib. He will be in Damascus. He will come here Wednesday. I will ask him what happened? Will the missiles move? Will they or won’t they? Are you moving them or not? If you don’t move them, then we will,” Begin said.