Jerusalem (Jul. 19)
A special Cabinet session early this week will be convened to consider American proposals for a ceasefire on the Israeli-Lebanese border. The proposals were conveyed today to Premier Menachem Begin and Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir in two lengthy meetings with President Reagan’s special Mideast envoy Philip Habib.
Initial reports said Habib had asked unequivocally for a cessation of Israeli attacks on Beirut. Later it was reported that the envoy is seeking to attain a total ceasefire along the northern border. Habib told reporters that the problem was “very complex” and said his talks with Begin had been “very serious.” Israel Radio said the U.S. demand for a ceasefire was also being directed at the Lebanese government and by implication to the Palestine Liberation Organization.
The radio cited “a high Israeli source” as expressing “pessimism” that a political solution was in the offing. “We have a major problem with the U.S.,” the source was cited as saying.
Begin was quoted by Israel Radio as telling Habib that the PLO has recently received military equipment that enabled it to undertake full-scale military operations whose purpose was “the destruction of Israel.” The Premier reportedly said that Israel would continue to hit at the terrorists. He stressed Lebanon’s responsibility to restrain the PLO and end their shellings of Israeli towns and villages in the north.