Biden: U.S. Would Have ‘apoplexy’ if Israel Withdraws Now from Lebanon

If the Israelis were to pull their troops out of Lebanon tomorrow, the Reagan Administration would “have apoplexy,” a ranking member of both the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Select Committee on Intelligence told the United Jewish Appeal-Federation Women’s Campaign Leadership Conference.

Sen. Joseph Biden (D. Del.) warned the 200 leaders of the Women’s Campaign from New York City, Long Island and Westchester that if the Reagan Administration’s commitment of marines in Lebanon ends badly, the blame will fall on Israel. This, he said, would be unjust. The United States, he said “is in Lebanon because of United States interests, not because of Israeli interests.”

Biden emphasized that “We have an obligation as a government to educate the American people to the vital role that Israel plays in the United States security interests. Israel’s presence in Lebanon is vitally important. The Reagan Administration would have apoplexy if (Israeli Premier-designate Yitzhak) Shamir said tomorrow, ‘I’m bringing all the troops home’.”

The Senator said, “If the Administration does not put forward candidly why it has decided to be in Lebanon, the blame will eventually fall on Israel, not on this Administration’s policy.” Biden has been an outspoken critic of Secretary of State George Shultz’s statements that the Administration would not feel bound by legislation invoking the War Powers Resolution and authorizing the U.S. marines to remain in Lebanon for 18 months.

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