NEW YORK (Sep. 28)
Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Meir Rosenne, told an audience of American Jewish leaders here last night that the situation in Lebanon “is not as bad as it seems” and that Syria has not achieved its objectives in that country.
Rosenne spoke at “Hineni II,” a three-day gathering of 150 major donors sponsored jointly by the national United Jewish Appeal and the UJA-Federation of New York. The event is chaired by Jack Nash of New York City. H.Irwin Levy of Palm Beach Fla. is co-chairman.
Rosenne observed that “Syria insisted on cancellation” of the withdrawal and security agreement signed by Israel and Lebanon last May 17. “It has not been cancelled,” he said. “Syria wanted to control Beirut after Israel’s withdrawal but it did not succeed,” he added.
DEFEND ISRAEL’S INCURSION IN LEBANON
The Israeli envoy defended his country’s incursion into Lebanon in June, 1982. “Israel had absolutely no alternative last year,” he said. “Seventy thousand Jews were living in shelters. The Jewish State was not established to see Jews living in shelters.”
Rosenne said it was necessary for Israel to push as far as Beirut “because the PLO, a state within a state, was only 40-50 kilometers from our borders.” He observed that the multinational force was sent to Beirut to protect the PLO which was leaving.
Rosenne maintained that the basic problem of the Arab-Israeli conflict “is not a question of territory or settlements” because from 1948 to 1967 there were no settlements but there was still no peace. He noted that Israel has since returned all of Sinai to Egypt, the Straits of Tiran, the oil wells and airfields in the interests of peace.