NEW YORK (Jun. 9)
Israeli Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin warned here that Israel will conduct raids into Lebanon if terrorist acts against Israeli settlements and civilians in the north will take place from Lebanon.
“We will not tolerate any one-sided terrorism,” Rabin declared at a luncheon attended by more than 400 delegates to the 72nd Annual National Commission meeting of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith Friday.
“In defense of Israel, we will react. If there will be no normal life on our side of the border, there will be no normal life in south Lebanon,” said Rabin, who arrived in New York Thursday after concluding talks with top Reagan Administration officials in Washington. Rabin noted that Israel’s three years in Lebanon did not eliminate the threat of terrorism against targets in northern Israel. He said that Israel which completed Thursday its withdrawal from Lebanon, has kept “a security zone” on the Lebanese border with Israel, which is controlled by the South Lebanon Army (SLA) which is loyal to Israel. He said that Israel will continue to train and arm those forces in south Lebanon, and, if necessary, “will come back to help them.”
But Rabin stressed that the Israeli forces which would enter Lebanon would not stay there and would return to Israel proper on completion of their Israel mission.
“We hope that the principle of live and let live will prevail now on both sides of the border. We hope people on both sides will be able to live in peace, Rabin said.
WANTS ‘WARMER’ TIES WITH EGYPT
On the issue of peace in the area, the Defense Minister said that one of Israel’s major goals now is to make the present cold peace between Israel and Egypt “warmer.” He expressed the hope that the peace between Egypt and Israel will broaden the process of peace in the Middle East. He said “The only possible candidate” for peace with Israel now is Jordan. He said Israel’s position is to sit with Jordan for direct negotiations without preconditions.
Rabin reiterated the Israeli government’s position against a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation with members of the PLO. He said, however, that Israel welcomed a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation with Palestinian leaders from the West Bank and Gaza who are not affiliated with the PLO.
Rabin also rejected the idea of an international conference to solve the Middle East conflict. He termed such a conference “a dinosaur that should be avoided.”
JEWISH DETERMINATION STRENGTHENED BY BITBURG
The luncheon honored Warren Phillips, publisher of the Wall Street Journal, who accepted the ADL’s Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms prize in behalf of his newspaper.
Kenneth Bialkin, ADL president and chairman of the Conference of Major American Jewish Organizations, another speaker, touched on the recent incident of President Reagan’s visit to the Bitburg cemetery. Bialkin said “our support for Israel and our determination to expose and resist anti-Semitism wherever it appears have been strengthened by the Bitburg experience.”