UNITED NATIONS (Feb. 28)
Lebanon called on the Security Council today to demand that Israel stop immediately all military actions in south Lebanon and to withdraw its troops from that area at once. But Israel told the Security Council that it is determined to protect its soldiers and people and would not permit terrorist attacks against its forces.
Ambassador Rachid Fakhoury of Lebanon sharply denounced the Israeli actions in south Lebanon in recent days. He said that Israel was persisting in its seizure of Lebanon. He accused the Israel Defense Force of demolishing buildings, forcing Lebanese citizens into exile, and of killings, arrests and abuse of Lebanese civilians of all ages.
Therefore, he said, Lebanon was forced to complain to the Security Council. He said that Israel refused to participate in the Nakura talks on Israeli withdrawal and refused to turn over to the Lebanese army the responsibility for the territory it was blockading in south Lebanon.
“Instead, Israel had turned over responsibility and authority in southern Lebanon to illegal local forces,” the Lebanese Ambassador charged.
The Lebanese diplomat expressed doubt as to whether Israel really intends to complete the two last stages of this withdrawal. He charged that as long as Israel retains a security belt in south Lebanon its withdrawal from the country is not complete.
He demanded that the Security Council condemn Israel for what he said were “inhuman practices” in occupied Lebanon.
NETANYAHU: ISRAEL WILL PROTECT ITS SOLDIERS
Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Binyamin Netanyahu, vowed that Israel “would continue with determination to protect its soldiers and people. It would not, as it left Lebanon, permit murderous attacks on its forces.”
As to the Israeli counter-actions against terrorist attacks, Netanyahu said that they were directed “at preventing terrorists from attacking” Israeli troops. He said that Israel was puzzled that Lebanon decided to request an urgent meeting of the Security Council now as Israel has decided on withdrawing from Lebanon and is in the process of exiting from the country.
He said that the “fanatics” who attack the Israeli troops in Lebanon take “their instructions from Syria and their inspiration from Khomeini.” He said that the purpose of these attacks is to shed as much Israeli blood as possible and to seize control of the areas evacuated by the IDF.
SHARP ATTACK BY EGYPTIAN AMBASSADOR
Ambassador Mohamed Ibrahim Shaker of Egypt, who also addressed the Security Council today, said that Israel, after two years of its invasion of Lebanon, continues with “indiscriminate practices” in that country. These acts, he charged, shatter the options for peace in the region. He said that the Security Council must urge an immediate end to the “violent acts” against the local population in Lebanon and must demand an immediate Israeli withdrawal “from every inch” of Arab occupied territory.
Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon, he said, should mark the beginning of its withdrawal from Gaza, the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. The Security Council adjourned without setting a new date for continuing its debate.