TEL AVIV (Jun. 15)
Defense Minister Moshe Arens said today that Israel might order a “redistribution of our forces” in Lebanon but ruled out a unilateral withdrawal of Israeli troops from that country.
Addressing a conference on the world economy organized by the United Mizrachi Banks, Arens said a decision to carry out a “redisposition” of forces would have to be accompanied by assurances that the Lebanese army and the multinational force in Lebanon would not allow Palestine Liberation Organization forces to enter areas evacuated by Israeli troops.
According to Arens, the Syrians and PLO are trying to test Israel’s capacity to stand firm in face of ambushes and hit-and-run attacks. It should be made clear to them that this tactic will not work, he said. He said the Lebanese government joined Israel in demanding the withdrawal of Syrian and PLO forces from Lebanon. The Lebanese Parliament yesterday overwhelmingly ratified the Israel-Lebanon agreement signed last May 17.