Rabin: American Marines in Lebanon Are Protecting U.S. Interests, Not Israeli Interests

Former Premier Yitzhak Rabin said here that should anything serious happen to the United States marine forces now in Lebanon, the United States would blame Israel. He said Israel should explain to the American public that the marines are in Lebanon serving American, and not Israeli interests.

“We are not doing enough to explain to the American people that the marines are in Beirut to protect American interests, not Israeli interests,” Rabin said in a weekend interview on Israel Radio. “They are not there at our request. We had no choice but to agree to their presence after Sabra and Shatila.”

The marines first arrived in Lebanon in August, 1982 under orders from President Reagan to oversee the evacuation of the PLO from Beirut. They departed on September 10 only to return 19 days later after the massacre of civilians at the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila at Lebanon’s invitation to “restore Lebanese government sovereignty and authority over the Beirut area.”

Rabin, a leader of the opposition Labor Party, also said he anticipates a “Vietnam-type solution” in Lebanon, resulting in an American withdrawal of its troops from the multinational force, with Lebanon becoming “a Soviet-Syrian achievement and…a failure for Israel and the United States with regard to the overall political situation in the Middle East.”

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