JERUSALEM (Feb. 1)
Israel is using diplomatic channels to convey to the United States and other Western powers the very grave view it takes of the terrorist infiltration of the West Bank from Jordan last week. It has also indicated to Jordan, through Western diplomats, that it regards Jordanian measures to prevent such infiltration to be inadequate or ineffective.
A band of three El Fatah terrorists was captured by Israeli forces Saturday after a two-day manhunt. Two and possibly three others escaped. Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir and Moshe Arens, Israel’s Ambassador-designate to the U.S., are insisting that the infiltration represents a serious breach of the cease-fire which the U.S. arranged last summer.
Chief of Staff Gen. Rafael Eitan said virtually the same thing at a press conference Saturday night at which he announced the capture of three terrorists, two of them wounded in a clash with Israeli forces.
The severity of Israel’s reaction to what was an aborted incursion with no casualties or damage inflicted on Israel has given rise to speculation that Israel might be planning a strike at PLO targets in Lebanon. The Jerusalem Post reported today that foreign diplomatic sources in Israel hold that view and believe Israel is trying to prepare world opinion.
LATEST OF A SERIES OF VIOLATIONS
According to government sources, the infiltration attempt last week was the latest of a series of cease-fire violations by the PLO. The sources claim there have been about 60 acts of sabotage and sabotage attempts since the agreement took effect last July 1, three of them in south Lebanon, more than 20 from Jordan and ten terrorist acts or attempts in Europe.
Shamir and Arens insisted today that the cease-fire, worked out by U.S. special envoy Philip Habib required the Palestine Liberation Organization to cease all activity on all fronts with Israel and anywhere else in the world. But American and United Nations sources in Lebanon have expressed surprise at that interpretation. They say the cease-fire applied only to hostile activity across the Lebanese border.
Meanwhile, the Government Press Office and Army spokesmen have released a great deal of “background information” on the situation in south Lebanon, including allegations of a terrorist military buildup there.