JERUSALEM (Aug. 18)
The Cabinet was expected to convene tomorrow to approve the plan presented by U.S. special envoy Philip Habib leading to the evacuation of the Palestine Liberation Organization from Beirut.
Premier Menachem Begin today received the proposal after the Lebanese Cabinet in Beisut accepted the plan and formally requested that an international force be deployed in Lebanon.
An Israeli official here said that Begin would review the draft and indicated that Israel’s conditions for the evacuation of the some 6,000 PLO fighters from Beirut had been met.
The final Israeli demand was the request for the immediate release of Aharon Achiaz, an Israeli pilot captured by the PLO and believed to be held in west Beirut; and the release of the bodies of nine Israeli soldiers killed in the Litani operations three years ago and the recent fighting in Lebanon.
The agreement to the final demands of Israel is reportedly contained in the draft proposal which Begin has received. If Israel approves the plan, the Lebanese would then relate the details to the PLO for its approval.
EVACUATION COULD BEGIN THIS WEEKEND
According to officials, the implementation of the plan for the evacuation could begin this weekend with French troops arriving to act as the buffer between the Israeli forces and the departing PLO. It remained unclear today as to the status of the Syrian occupation forces in Beirut and when and if they would evacuate.
Israel has reportedly received assurances from the U.S., France and Italy –the three countries to make up the international force –that if the PLO reneges on its commitment to leave or the evacuation is disrupted, the force will not act as a shield for the PLO and would stand aside.