TEL AVIV (Aug. 31)
Defense Minister Ariel Sharon returned home today from his visit to the U.S., saying he had found growing appreciation there of the Israeli campaign in Lebanon and a growing recognition of Israel’s demand that all Syrian and PLO forces had to leave Lebanon.
He told reporters at Ben Gurion Airport: “I was glad to find that public opinion in the States was turning in favor of Israel. I found that people understand more and more that the expulsion of the terrorists from Beirut and the destruction of the PLO terrorist organization and infrastructure in Lebanon will contribute to the peaceful coexistence between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs.”
Sharon said he did not find that the traditional friendship between Israel and the U.S. had been harmed. “On the contrary, for the first time I found there are many common goals and targets,” he said. Sharon said that a by-product of the war would be a growing recognition that Israel’s strength could contribute to American policies in the Middle East.