JERUSALEM (Jul. 1)
The U.S. has asked an increasingly restive Israel for more time to negotiate the withdrawal of Palestine Liberation Organization forces from west Beirut. The request was made today by Morris Draper, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near East and South Asian Affairs, at a meeting here with Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir.
Draper is assisting President Reagan’s special envoy for the Lebanese crisis, Philip Habib, who has been in Beirut for over a week negotiating with the PLO through Lebanese mediators. He was told flatly by Shamir that Israel is running out of patience and demands that the terrorists leave Beirut immediately.
Draper, who came here from Beirut this morning said more time was needed because the negotiations were proving difficult. He attributed the difficulties to differences between the various terrorist groups under the PLO umbrella and the fact that the U.S. does not talk to the PLO directly but through intermediaries. However, he reportedly believes that the PLO can be prevailed upon to leave Beirut by political means.
‘SYMBOLIC RETREAT’ DENIED
A senior political source said here today that Israel has not received any conditions from the PLO to move its forces back some distance from Beirut. If it had “Israel would have rejected it outright,” the source said. He denied reports from Beirut that Israel has agreed to a “symbolic retreat” by the PLO. He said such reports were not related to the reality of the negotiations presently under way.
The reports said the Israelis would pull back from Beirut simultaneously with the PLO’s departure, that the terrorists would be allowed to take along heavy weapons and would be permitted to retain a small military unit within the Lebanese army after all foreign elements have left Lebanon.
Premier Menachem Begin said during the Knesset debate Tuesday that Israel would permit the PLO to leave Beirut under safe conduct with their personal weapons but they would have to leave their tanks and artillery behind. It was not known if that offer was made official and conveyed to the Palestinians through Habib.