TEL AVIV (Sep. 28)
Defense Minister Moshe Arens warned the Druze community of Lebanon, especially those in the Shouf mountain area who have been locked in fierce battles with the Christian Phalangists, that they should not cooperate with the Palestinian terrorists and should expel them from the area.
Addressing a Likud Party meeting in Kiryat Shmonah last night, Arens said that if the Druze took no action to rid their areas of Palestinians the IDF would be forced to take action. He did not specify what action would be taken or how.
He said the IDF would remain on the Awali River line as long as this was necessary for Israel’s security, and would continue to patrol north of the river line.
“The bulk of the population north of the Awali is Druze. Will terrorists be able to settle in the Shouf? That depends on the Druze attitude in the area. If the Druze don’t eject them, we will have to act,” Arens declared.
He said Israel had information there were Druze and terrorists at the gates of Beirut. “So long as you fought for your villages and the security of your population, we could understand this. But from the moment we saw you with the terrorists at the gates of Beirut, we could not understand it any longer, and we call on you to end it immediately,” Arens said.
The Defense Minister appealed to the Lebanese Druze to lift their blockade of the Deir al-Kamar village where an estimated 30,000-40,000 Christians are besieged.