Highlights of the Year 5742

The months of July through early September saw Israel moving uninterruptedly against the PLO and Syrian forces in west Beirut, its successful conclusion in the evacuation of some 15,000 terrorists, and a growing crisis between Israel and the U.S. over President Reagan’s plan for peace in the Mideast.

THE MIDDLE EAST:

July 1982 — Israel, on the outskirts of Beirut, keeps the military pressure on Palestinian terrorists trapped in the Lebanese capital. In an effort to find a solution to the conflict and peaceful withdrawal of forces, Reagan announces that he has “agreed in principle” to contribute U.S. troops to a multinational force for “temporary peacekeeping” in Beirut.

While affirming his strongest support for the U.S. commitment to Israel, Secretary of State designate George Shultz at his confirmation hearings declares that the situation in Lebanon has demonstrated the urgency of satisfying the “political aspirations” of the Palestinian people.

A U.S. Congressional delegation comes away from a meeting with Arafat in west Beirut claiming that the PLO leader signed a document which amounts to a commitment to recognize Israel. The document, hardly unequivocal, allows Arafat to later deny any such intention.

Reagan denies that Begin has promised that Israel forces will not enter Beirut to flush out the Palestinian terrorists trapped in the city or that Washington had provided Jerusalem with a “green light” to enter Lebanon in June.

AUGUST — The ninth cease-fire in Lebanon around the capital of Beirut is breached and Israel launches air, land and sea forces to pound Palestinian targets in west Beirut for 15 hours. Egyptian Foreign Minister Kamal Hassan Ali, in an interview with the French paper, Le Monde, warns that Cairo may sever diplomatic relations with Israel if Israel launches an all-out assault of the Lebanese capital.

After more than two months of fighting in Lebanon, the PLO agrees to evacuate west Beirut where they have been headquartered since 1970, and to depart to other Arab countries under a plan negotiated by Philip Habib. Some 15,000 PLO and Syrian soldiers leave on schedule.

Bashir Gemayel, 34-year-old Christian Phalangist leader, is elected President of Lebanon to succeed Elias Sarkis to a six-year term.

Shamir meets in Washington with Reagan, Shultz and other Administration officials on Israel’s continuing actions in Lebanon against the PLO.

SEPTEMBER — Reagan, calling for a “fresh start” in the Middle East peace process, demands a freeze on Jewish settlements on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, a halt to the expansion of existing settlements, and full linkage between Jordan and the West Bank. Israel rejects the plan.

AROUND THE WORLD:

SEPTEMBER 1981 — Shamir confers with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko in New York but reports that “there is no change” in the Soviet attitude toward Israel.

The Canadian Bar Association, meeting in Toronto, adopts a resolution calling for the government to broaden its criteria for the trial of persons in Canada accused of war crimes.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), meeting in Vienna, condemns Israel’s air raid an Iraq’s nuclear reactor last June and decides to withhold all technical and economic assistance to Israel on nuclear matters.

OCTOBER — Bombs explode on Yom Kippur eve at the Israel Tourist Office and at the main post office in Ostia, Italy, the latter being a stopover for Jewish emigres in transit to the U.S. or Canada.

Two people are killed and more than 100 injured when a car bomb explodes outside a small Sephardic synagogue in Antwerp’s heavily Jewish populated diamond district shortly before Shemini Atzeret services were to begin.

The Soviet Union extends full diplomatic status to the Moscow office of the PLO. Tass reports that Arafat is personally informed of the decision at a meeting with Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev.

Elias Canetti, a 76-year-old Bulgarian-born Sephardic Jew, is awarded the 1981 Nobel Prize for Literature. Dr. Roald Hoffmann, a Polish-born Jew, shares the 1981 Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

NOVEMBER — Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Yehuda Blum, renews Israel’s call for establishing a nuclear-free zone, to the Middle East through negotiations by the states in the area.

Aleksandr Paritsky, a 43-year-old Jewish engineer and emigration activist, is sentenced to three years in a Soviet labor camp by a Kharkov court on the charge of defaming the Soviet state.

Four Jews are released by the Argentina government after being held for years under the Detention by order of the National Executive Power (PEN).

Prisoner of Conscience Anatoly Shcharansky, after an “internal trial,” is sentenced by a labor camp court to three years of strict regime in Chistipal Prison, one of the harshest of such institutions in the Soviet Gulag.

DECEMBER — The NBC-TV series “Holocaust” is aired in Argentina on a leading TV channel during prime time.

HIAS agrees to work with the Jewish Agency on a trial basis for the handling of Soviet emigrants arriving in Vienna. Under the agreement, HIAS will assist Soviet emigrants only if they have first degree relatives in the U.S. or other Western countries.

The trial of two terrorists charged with killing a 15 year boy and wounding 12 other youths and adults in front of a Jewish youth center in Antwerp in July, 1980, begins in a criminal court in that city.

A steady increase in anti-Semitism fanned by the Polish government is reported as authorities in Poland crack down on the independent trade union Solidarity and impose martial law in the country. Dr. Mark Edelman, the last surviving member of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, is interred by Polish authorities for two weeks under martial law but is released as a result of international pressure.

JANUARY 1982 — Two Palestinian terrorists are sentenced to life imprisonment by a Vienna court for the attack last August on the Jewish community center and synagogue in which two persons were killed and 18 wounded.

Palestinian terrorist group claims responsibility for a bomb explosion which rips through an Israeli restaurant in west Berlin injuring 25 persons, including a 14-month-old child who dies three days later of her injuries.

(Continued Tomorrow)

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