Shamir Says He ‘cannot Imagine’ the U.S. is Considering Sanctions Against Israel over Lebanon

Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir of Israel said today that he “cannot imagine” that the United States is considering sanctions against Israel as a result of the situation in Lebanon.

Early reports from Washington today quoted unnamed officials as saying that the Administration is considering severe measures against Israel following the renewed outbreak of hostilities in Beirut last night. Later in the day, however, it was reported that no decision had been made as yet by the Administration on sanctions against Israel.

Speaking at a meeting of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations here, Shamir said Israel and the United States share the same goal in Lebanon, “the removal of the PLO from Beirut and out of Lebanon.”

The differences between the two countries are on tactics and the urgency regarding the accomplishment of that goal. “We are taking into consideration the feelings and interests of the United States,” Shamir declared, adding that by doing so Israel sometimes pays “a high price.”

The Foreign Minister, who left for Israel this afternoon, said that Israel is willing and ready to observe a new cease-fire and wait for President Reagan’s special envoy to Lebanon, Philip Habib, to complete his mission. “We are ready at any moment to stop the fire,” Shamir said. But, he added, it all depends on “the other party,” the PLO to observe the cease-fire. He said the PLO is responsible for violating the earlier cease-fires.

PLO MUST LEAVE BEIRUT

Shamir said that Israel is already “impatient” and “cannot wait any longer” for the withdrawal of the PLO from Beirut and Lebanon. He said that any delay in that direction causes more Israeli casualties and increases the burden on Israel’s economy. He said the U.S. must stress to the PLO that if they will not leave Beirut by negotiations “there are other means to make them leave.”

Shamir said that according to information obtained by Israel the PLO terrorists have not yet decided to leave Beirut and Lebanon, hoping to gain time and delay their departure. “We have to convince them that they have no choice but to leave Beirut either by negotiation or by other ways,” he said.

Shamir stressed repeatedly in his address to the Jewish leaders that if the PLO will not leave Beirut through a diplomatic agreement, the other option, the military one, will have to be used to remove the some 6,000 PLO terrorists from Beirut. He also stressed that time is running out and a solution to the stalemate will have to be found very soon. He said that the longer the crisis lingers the greater the suffering by civilians in Lebanon will be.

He said that Israel is eager to resolve the Lebanese crisis and proceed with the autonomy negotiations for the Palestinians on the West Bank and Gaza “but a precondition to these negotiations is to bring a quick and decisive solution to the removal of the PLO from Lebanon.”

BERMAN TO PLO: LEAVE OR FACE THE CONSEQUENCES

Julius Berman, Chairman of the Presidents Conference, introducing Shamir to the some 150 Jewish leaders at the meeting, said that the gathering reflects the support of the organized Jewish community in America of the Israeli government. He declared “Now the moment is at hand to signal clearly to the PLO terrorists: the time has come to quit Beirut, to leave Lebanon. America will tolerate no more evasions, no more equivocations, no more deceptions. Leave in peace or face the consequences of war.”

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