CAIRO (Oct. 3)
President Hosni Mubarak, in an address marking the inauguration of this year’s Parliamentary session, issued today a sharply-worded denunciation of Israeli policy in Lebanon and warned Israel that its actions would have “grave repercussions.”
At the same time, however, he reiterated Egypt’s commitment “to every convention and every agreement” to which his country was party.
Although the President announced no specific measures against Israel in the wake of the massacre by Phalangist militiamen of Palestinian refugees In Beirut, the stinging tone of his address underscored the strain in relations between the two countries which has increased dramatically in recent weeks. Egypt has officially blamed Israel for the massacre and recalled its Ambassador from Israel.
“The Israeli policy has done a lot of harm to the cause of peace and stability in the area,” he declared to the legislators. Referring to what he called Israel’s illusion of military might that he said was shattered by Egypt in 1973, Mubarak declared that “once again it is beating the drums of war.” This was a reference to the Yom Kippur War.
“It is imperative for the Israeli government to understand that this policy that they are adopting will have the grave repercussions and that they will definitely backfire on them, and that this policy will never annihilate the people of Palestine or eliminate the right of the Palestinians to have their own homeland, just like the other people in the world,” the President warned.
Referring to the Palestinian killings, Mubarak added: “These constant and successive campaigns of mutilation and massacre by the Israelis will never destroy the will of the Palestinian people to drive them to frustration in any way. On the contrary, this will enhance the determination of the people to stand firm and to survive and retain their identity.”
In what appeared an implicit call for a PLO declaration of willingness to recognize Israel in order to build upon the wave of worldwide sympathy generated by the events in Lebanon, Mubarak said:
“…If the Palestinian people were to have the insight and foresight, then they would be able to capitalize on the international sympathy and try to translate this into tangible and positive action that would finally lead to the emancipation and liberation of the Palestinian people.”
The President warned that “Israel cannot go on occupying and threatening the Lebanese people and threatening to intervene in their affairs,” and said that the recent massacre “showed that occupation breeds only atrocities, crime and bloodshed.”
Noting the public outcry in Israel following the massacre, as well as criticism from Jewish communities abroad, Mubarak hailed “those Israelis who have denounced the massacres within Israel itself and all over the world.”
Egypt’s semi-official news daily Al-Ahram reported yesterday that Foreign Minister Kamal Hassan Ali will send a letter to U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz in the coming days that will include an explanation of his country’s stance on the Reagan initiative.
ISRAELI-EGYPTIAN RELATIONS TO BE REASSESSED
The President’s speech marked the culmination of a growing wave of official and semi-official rhetoric condemning Israeli policy in Lebanon and its rejection of the Reagan Middle East plan. Although Mubarak made no mention of sanctions against Israel, Egypt has reportedly asked Israel not to participate in the international farm equipment fair scheduled for this month, and the Egyptian Foreign Minister has ordered the formation of a committee to assess relations between the two countries. According to a report in Al-Ahram today, Ali will review this week a detailed report prepared by Middle East and Israeli affairs experts on all aspects of Egyptian-Israeli relations and the massacre in west Beirut.
EGYPT WANTS IDF OUT OF LEBANON IMMEDIATELY
Meanwhile, Egypt has informed the United States that Israel should withdraw its troops from Lebanon immediately without waiting for other foreign forces to leave, according to a report in Al-Ahram. The report stated that Ali told U.S. special envoy Philip Habib in his meeting with him several days ago that an immediate withdrawal of Israeli troops would serve as a catalyst for withdrawal of other foreign forces from Lebanon.
In another development Syria told the U.S. today that it would withdraw its troops from Lebanon if asked to do so by the Lebanese government and if Israel’s forces pulled out of the country. According to reports from Damascus, this position was conveyed by Syrian Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Farouk al-Sharei and Deputy Foreign Minister Nasser Qaddour to Habib at a two-hour meeting.
The U.S. envoy arrived in Damascus yesterday on the latest stage of his mission to try to negotiate a withdrawal of all foreign troops from Lebanon, and to promote President Reagan’s Middle East peace initiative. Before arriving in Damascus Habib visited Beirut where he briefed President Amin Gemayel on his latest talks in Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, Prior to leaving Damascus today to return to the U.S., Habib met for three hours with President Hafez Assad.