WASHINGTON (Oct. 27)
An Israeli military analyst gave the unique view of the Israeli military toward the “Peace for Galilee” operation at a recent question-and-answer session sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington think tank. The analyst, whose name cannot be used, said Israel had accomplished two of its four objectives in Lebanon.
The first objective was to provide security for it northern border and for south Lebanon from the Palestine Liberation Organization terrorists, the analyst said. He noted that the PLO was moving from just terrorism to a force that was developing military capability. Because of this, Israel would have had to act eventually even if the assassination attempt on the Israeli Ambassador in London, Shlomo Argov, had not been made last June, the analyst said.
Israel’s second objective was the destruction of the infrastructure created by the PLO and used as military and terrorist bases.
Israel’s last two objectives have not been accomplished but Israel has created the conditions for them to be carried out, the analyst said. To accomplish them requires the help of others, especially the United States, he stressed. One is the withdrawal of the Syrian and PLO “foreign occupying forces” and the other is to help Lebanon establish a government that can exercise sovereignly over the country.
CITES TWO BY-PRODUCTS
The analyst said he saw two “by-products” from the Israeli action. He pointed out the first was in superpower influence. During the last decade Soviet influence increased in the Mideast while American influence declined, according to the Israeli. But he said that in Lebanon not only were two Soviet clients Syria and the PLO — defeated, but the Soviets did nothing to help them.
He said the U.S. is perceived as the only country that can “exert influence or pressure” on the situation in the Middle East and get results. He said whether the U.S. will benefit from this situation depends on whether it uses its influence to bring about positive results in Lebanon and in the general Mideast peace effort.
The second by-product, according to the analyst was that the PLO has lost its independent base which it had in Lebanon and is now subject to host countries He said while the PLO is now enjoying popularity because of Western feelings for the underdog, it will eventually realize it has lost stature and influence.
The analyst said as a result of this change in status the PLO might return to terrorism, in which case it would be a “pain in the neck” to Israel but even a greater one to the Arab countries; or it might try to work out a new policy. He said the first sign of a change may be the recent meeting PLO chief Yasir Arafat had with his long-time enemy, King Hussein of Jordan.
BASIS FOR ISRAEL’S VICTORY
The analyst rejected the argument that has been vice in the United States that the Israeli victory in Lebanon proved the superiority of American weapons over Soviet arms. He noted the Israeli victory was due to the equipment, the excellent training of the Israeli troops and their motivation.
He said the Soviets did not give their “top grade” arms to the PLO and the Syrians. But at the same time, he pointed out that the Soviet tanks are in many ways superior to Western tanks and the Soviet planes are good, although their electronic systems for missiles are not as good as the U.S. systems.
The official noted that the Arab countries receive top grade equipment from the West as well as from the Soviets. He said the case of Iraq has shown that some of these countries given large quantities of arms will be tempted to use them.
The analyst warned against U.S. sales of arms to Jordan which is expected to occur late this year. He said an F-15 or F-16 could be over Israel in a minute after leaving a Jordanian base. There has been opposition here to giving Jordan mobile missiles. But, the analyst noted that a fixed missile placed on top of one of the Jordanian mountains could endanger Israel from Jerusalem to Eilat.