JERUSALEM (Jul. 20)
The Cabinet today unanimously approved a plan to redeploy Israeli troops in south Lebanon. The announcement, after a closed session of the Ministerial Defense Committee, contained no specifics but empowered Premier Menachem Begin, Defense Minister Moshe Arens and Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir to “determine the details.”
Redeployment to shorter lines in Lebanon was approved in principle by the Cabinet several weeks ago. But no date was ever set and it was generally believed that there would be no move until Begin’s meeting with President Reagan in Washington, which had been scheduled for July 27. Yesterday, the Prime Minister unexpectedly cancelled his trip for unexplained “personal reasons.”
Today’s official communique stated; “As proposed by the Prime Minister, the Cabinet has unanimously approved the plan for redeployment of the Israel Defense Force in Lebanon as prepared and submitted by the IDF General Staff.”
There was no indication where the new lines in Lebanon will be. But Chief of Staff Gen, Moshe Levy said on a television interview last week that the line would follow the Awali River which enters the sea just north of Sidon in south Lebanon. It was not immediately known whether that city of 300,000 will be incorporated within the new IDF lines. The redeployment is expected to be completed by autumn.