TEL AVIV (May. 15)
Shimon Peres, chairman of the opposition Labor Party, lacks confidence in the Israeli-Lebanese agreement because Lebanon is in “a state of weakness” and cannot control the activities of the Palestine Liberation Organization on its soil.
The Labor Party, Peres said in a weekend radio interview, should not support the Likud government on the agreement because to do so would create unwarranted euphoria in Israel that finally all was well. He urged, instead, concentration on the security of Galilee and solution of the Middle East conflict as a whole.
“We were not a partner either to the decisions of the war (in Lebanon) or to the decisions on the negotiations and we are not willing or ready to identify ourselves with the ways, the priorities and the emphases the government has selected to introduce in these negotiations”, Peres said. He added, however, “We are responsible enough not to endanger any chance of bringing our army back home as soon as possible…”
Peres insisted that “the problem with Lebanon was not the state of war” which the agreement ends, because “Lebanon never in fact made war with Israel. The problem with Lebanon was not a state of war but a state of weakness, and unfortunately I feel that Lebanon is going to remain as weak as it was before the war.” Peres said he did not think the Soviets are looking for a direct confrontation with the United States in the Middle East but are trying to keep the region divided because “it gives them spheres of interest … it maintains the depth of dispute between the Arabs and ourselves and it will show that without the Russians … that nobody can move seriously in the Middle East in either direction.”