Shamir: Israel is Ready to Withdraw All Its Forces from Lebanon

Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir reiterated today Israel’s readiness to withdraw all its forces from Lebanon, but he said the withdrawd will take place only if security measures are established to protect Israel’s northern border from terrorist attacks.

Addressing the General Assembly, Shamir stated: “Let me repeat, any people or state that is interested in the evacuation of the Israel army from Lebanon must see to it that the terrorist organizations expelled from Lebanon by Israel do not return to our borders to renew their attacks. This is an essential condition for peace. Israel is ready to cooperate in any serious effort toward a fair solution to this problem.”

Shamir assailed Syria’s occupation of Lebanon as the major obstacle toward a solution in that country. He said that Syria “destroyed” the agreement reached between Lebanon and Israel in May 1983 “by the application of sheer, brutal force.” He said the agreement was designed to restore Lebanon’s independence.

“Today, some 40,000 Syrian troops occupy 65 percent of Lebanon and show no sign of any intention to leave,” Shamir said.

“The Lebanese government is dominated by Syria and is not capable of conducting free negotiations” that would resolve its problems with Israel.

“Obviously, Israel will ensure its legitimate security needs and make the necessary arrangements in southern Lebanon to protect the people of northern Israel against any repetition of the terrorist attacks of recent years.”

OVERALL SOLUTION TO MIDEAST CONFLICT

As for the overall solution of the Middle East conflict, Shamir noted that recently the idea of convening an international conference on the Mideast was “resurrected.” He pointed out that the idea is promoted by the Soviet Union which “has no diplomatic relations with Israel and that recomments the participation of a terrorist organization,” the PLO, in the conference. Israel, Shamir declared, is against such a conference because it “would strike a blow at the principle of direct negotiations which has proved to be the only means of producing agreements between Israel and its neighbors, from the time of the general armisti? agreement in 1949 through the Camp David accords in 1978.”

Shamir called on “member-countries that have the interest of peace at heart to bring their influence to bear on our Arab neighbors” to seek peace with Israel through direct negotiations.

Most of the Arab delegates, except Egypt, walked out of the Assembly Hall as Shamir started his speech. The Soviet delegation, as well as some African and Communist countries, were also absent from the hall during the Israeli diplomat’s speech.

URGES WAR AGAINST TERRORISM

Shamir blasted international terrorism and called on the international community to make the war against terrorism one of its major targets. “This is a war of self-defense in its true sense, a campaign that the free world should undertake on behalf of its peoples and the entire human race,” Shamir declared.

He said that Israel has been waging an unrelenting war on Arab terrorism. “The so-called PLO, which had established its own mini-terrorist state in Lebanon, from which it carried out and assisted terrorist acts in five continents, was expelled from that country. But Israel cannot be expected to shoulder alone the burden of international terrorism. Since we are all potential victims of terror, we must fight it together. If we do not, terrorism will endanger our basic freedoms and all the standards of civilized behavior for which this organization (the UN) stands.”

Shamir said that Israel has been calling repeatedly on Jordan “to join us in negotiations for peace.” He said that Israel is interested in deepening and strengthening its peace with Egypt. But the Israeli diplomat noted that reaching peace between Israel and the Arabs must be viewed “in the context of the realities in our region.”

He pointed out that “In a few weeks’ bloodshed along the Iran-Iraq border, more men and children die than in all the Arab-Israeli wars.” But the UN is obsessed with the Arab-Israel conflict and devotes a disproportionate amount of time to it, only for the purpose of slandering Israel, Shamir charged.

PLIGHT OF SOVIET, SYRIAN, ETHIOPIAN JEWS

Shamir devoted the opening part of his speech to the plight of Soviet, Syrian and Ethiopian Jews. “The situation of Soviet Jewry has recently taken a definite turn for the worse,” Shamir said, charging that Soviet Jews are being denied access to Jewish culture, are harassed, and are denied human rights.

“We call upon the Soviet government to change its policy which is unjustifiable. The Soviet Jews are not involved in any anti-Soviet activity, nor are they violating Soviet laws, or working against Soviet interests. Then only wish is to study their ancient culture and their national language and to live as Jews in their historic homeland. It should be recalled that in front of this very Assembly, official representatives of the USSR have declared that the Jewish people have a right to a state of their own. Soviet Jewry demands nothing more than to exercise this right,” Shamir declared.

He said that the Jews of Syria are being held hostage by the Syrian regime that “refuses to grant them basic human rights, most important of which is the right to emigrate and join their brethren.” He said Syrian Jewry lives in a climate of terror.

In Ethiopia, the Jews struggle to maintain their heritage and culture, Shamir said, adding that Israel hopes that the Ethiopian government “will take all necessary steps to protect and respect their (the Jews) religious and cultural rights and enable those who so desire to be reunited with their families in their ancient home##”

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