JERUSALEM (Jun. 27)
The Cabinet announced today that Israel’s conditions for peace in Lebanon are that the Palestine Liberation Organization surrender its arms to the Lebanese army in west Beirut and depart forthwith from Beirut and Lebanon into Syria under a safe-conduct guarantee by the Israel army.
The take over of all of Beirut by the Lebanese army was the key condition for political negotiations to begin leading to the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Lebanon. Israel said — it would welcome the participation of the United States in those negotiations.
The Cabinet statement was read to reporters by Cabinet Secretary Dan Meridor after today’s weekly session. He said it was unanimous and that the Cabinet also agreed to maintain the latest cease-fire around Beirut, which took effect Friday, as long as the enemy does the same.
LABOR DEMANDS W. BEIRUT NOT BE TAKEN
The Cabinet announcement came as public opinion against continuing the three week-old war in Lebanon appeared to be mounting. The Labor Alignment’s political forum demanded today that Israel refrain from entering west Beirut to destroy the remaining PLO forces, estimated at 5000-6000 men. As Meridor was reading the Cabinet statement, some 300 Labor doves demonstrated outside the Prime Ministers Office calling for an end to the war and the firing of Defense Minister Ariel Sharon. They were joined by a group of army reservists, some just back from active duty, who said they would hold round-the-clock protests.
Today’s Cabinet meeting was held against the background of persistent reports that the government was sharply split over whether to launch a frontal assault on the PLO in west Beirut, the course strongly advocated by Sharon, or to let international diplomacy resolve the issues. The debate was aggravated by fears that the resignation of Secretary of State Alexander Haig over the weekend and the designation of George Shultz as his successor may till U.S. Middle East policy away from Israel and toward the Arab viewpoint.
The Cabinet statement said “The government of Israel recommends that the Lebanese army enter west Beirut. The terrorist organizations, of which the roof organization called the PLO is comprised, will hand over their weapons to the Lebanese army. All members of the above mentioned terrorist organizations, without any exceptions, will leave Beirut and Lebanon.
“The departing columns of terrorists, under the protection of the International Red Cross, will move across the international Lebanese-Syrian border, along the Beirut-Damascus road. The Israel Defense Force will ensure that in the section of the road that is under its control, the column will have safe passage. If the terrorists prefer an alternative route, this will be made possible for them by the IDF.
“With the liberation of west Beirut and the reunification of the Lebanese capital, the political negotiations between all the parties concerned, will begin, with the view to reaching an agreement which will guarantee the territorial integrity of Lebanon, the departure of all foreign forces from that country, its independence and the peace of its inhabitants.
“This agreement will ensure security and peace for the Galilee and its inhabitants, for Israel and its civilians. Israel will gladly accept the good offices of the U.S. to the negotiating parties in order to reach this agreement.”