NEW YORK (Jun. 7)
Yehuda Blum, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, said today that Israel had no intention of becoming an occupying force in south Lebanon once it completed its current military operation to push Palestinian terrorist forces beyond artillery and rocket range of northern Israel.
“Israel stands for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Lebanon,” Blum told reporters following a meeting with Jewish community leaders attending the national commission conference of the Anti-Deformation League of B’nai B’rith here at the Grand Hyatt Hotel. The ADL’s meeting ended today.
Blum stressed that Israel had “no territorial ambitions whatsoever in Lebanon.” However, Blum would not speculate on the future status of southern Lebanon once the operation, dubbed, “Peace for Galilee,” has been completed.
Questioned whether Israel has overreacted in its response to the terrorist shelling of Israel’s northern settlements and last weeks shooting of Israel’s Ambassador to Britain, Blum asked rhetorically what the level of reaction should be in retaliation to terrorist attacks.
Blum touched on a similar theme in an address last night to the United Nations Security Council prior to its adoption of a resolution calling for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanon “forthwith and unconditionally.” The Council also called on all parties involved to observe the resolution unanimously adopted on Saturday calling for the cessation “immediately and simultaneously” of all military activities with Lebanon and across the Israeli-Lebanese border.
CHASTISES COUNCIL LAST NIGHT
In his address to the Council the envoy chastised the Council for “evincing not the slightest interest” in terrorist actions perpetrated by the Palestine Liberation Organization. “How many Israelis have to be killed by terrorists for this council to be persuaded that the limits of our endurance have been reached?” he asked. “Israel cannot expect this body even to deplore PLO barbarism against Israel’s civilian population, let along take any steps with a view towards curbing that barbarism.”
Blum offered “highlights” of PLO terrorism from April 1979 up to the shooting of the Israeli Ambassador, Shlomo Argov, last Thursday night.
He pointed out that since the cease-fire was agreed to across the Israeli-Lebanese border last July, 17 people have been killed and 241 wounded in a total of 141 terrorist acts, “all of them originating from terrorist bases inside Lebanon.”
“These and many hundreds of additional attacks against Israel, Israelis and Jews were regularly reported by us to the Council,” he said. “All our reports have gone unheeded.” He accused the Council of having remained “unmoved” and failing to attempt to curb the “criminal activities of the PLO.”