Jerusalem (Jul. 26)
The cease-fire on the Israel-Lebanon border technically covers Israeli aerial surveillance flights over Lebanon but in practice the United Nations will not regard these flights as a serious violation. This was made clear over the weekend by top UN sources here. The UN coordinator in the region, Gen. Emmanuel Erskine of Ghana, met here Friday with U.S. special envoy Philip Habib to discuss the cease-fire and terms for its implementation.
Habib informed Erskine that the cease-fire would cover the Christian militia of Maj. Saad Haddad. Israel had undertaken to ensure that they, too, would observe the cease-fire. But by the same token, if the Christians were shot at, Israel would see this as a material violation of the cease-fire.
As far as in known here, the cease-fire provides for a “cessation of military actions” across the border in either direction “by sea, air and land.” It does not refer to reinforcement or buildup of PLO forces in south Lebanon and UN sources conceded over the weekend that this “could be a problem” later.
Israel has made it clear that it would strike again if its intelligence-gathering operations showed that the PLO was reorganizing and reinforcing its positions in south Lebanon under cover of the cease-fire. UN sources said that if they found this to be going on they would “immediately take up the matter” with PLO chief Yasir Arafat, as a buildup would plainly be in contravention of the interests of stability and quiet in the region. However, it was unclear to what extent, if at all, the UN would regard such a buildup as a violation of the cease-fire.