MONTICELLO, N.Y. (Jun. 22)
In the wake of the “new reality” that has emerged in the Middle East with the Israeli invasion into Lebanon and the significant military set back to the Palestine Liberation Organization, Thomas Dine, executive director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), said the U.S. should now press Saudi Arabia and Jordan to participate in direct negotiations with Israel.
“Today, the PLO military structure lies in ruin and international pressure is mounting for the removal of all military presence from the country — Syrian as well as Israeli,” Dine declared in an address to the some 600 delegates who attended the four-day 73rd annual convention of B’nai Zion here last weekend.
Dine urged the simultaneous withdrawal of Israel and Syrian forces and the introduction of “a true peace keeping force” to prevent the PLO from reforming as a military power. This presence he suggested, could be either a strong Lebanese force patrolling a widened buffer zone between Israel and Lebanon, a multinational peacekeeping unit or an apolitical force.
Also hailing the opportunity which has arisen from the Israeli operation, was Dr. Joseph Sternstein, president of the American Zionist Federation, who said at the opening session last week that the Reagan Administration could now launch a new effort to promote peace, security and stability in the Middle East.
Sternstein hailed the opportunity which he said had been created by Israel’s Defense Force, to restore Lebanon’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Declaring that the PLO “must not be permitted to reestablish itself,” Sternstein said, “we call upon the United States not to pressure Israel into withdrawing from Lebanon until guarantees to Israel’s security and Lebanon’s sovereignty and freedom are arranged and implemented through a multinational peace keeping force with strong United States participation.”