JERUSALEM (Nov. 13)
Premier Yitzhak Shamir said that Israel may be nearing the end of its presence in Lebanon but refused to say just when this would be. Rejecting the view that Israel is somehow trapped in Lebanon, Shamir said in a television interview last Wednesday that the end was in sight. “However, there are some obstacles which must be overcome.”
He stressed that Israel has achieved its main objectives in Lebanon, destroying the Palestine Liberation Organization’s infrastructure in that country and keeping the terrorists for from its borders. “We have no interest to continue the war but we must make sure that we are not attacked by the terrorists once we leave, ” he said.
Shamir noted that there already has been a substantial reduction of Israel’s presence in Lebanon. The Israel Defense Force occupies a smaller territory and is deploying smaller forces. He expressed hope that in the near future, the Israeli presence could be reduced even more. “We are looking into every possible way which would allow us to reach an agreement on security arrangements which would enable an IDF withdrawal from Lebanon, ” Shamir said.