JERUSALEM (Sep. 25)
A strong consensus has developed in Israel against the UN Security Council resolution calling for Israel’s abandonment of the south Lebanon security zone and the deployment of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) along the Israel-Lebanon border.
The resolution was adopted Tuesday evening by a 14-0 vote. The United States abstained. Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir’s swift condemnation of the resolution at the UN was echoed in statements here Wednesday by Premier Shimon Peres, Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Chief of Staff Gen. Moshe Levy.
The Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Security Committee’s majority of Labor and Likud MKs strongly supported the government’s policy of no change in the status quo, defended by Rabin who appeared before the committee Wednesday. Hawks and doves in opposition parties at opposite ends of the political spectrum favored changes reflecting their particular views.
Peres, addressing the World ORT Convention here, said he hoped the Security Council would “come to terms with reality” with respect to UNIFIL. By reality he meant Israel’s determination not to permit UNIFIL to deploy further southward.
Peres noted, however, that the Lebanese government wants UNIFIL to remain “and one can clearly understand that … If UNIFIL leaves Lebanon, the chaotic situation there would be worsened.”
SECURITY ZONE SHOULD REMAIN AS IS
Rabin told the Knesset committee that the security zone has been relatively effective and should remain as is, neither extended nor reduced. He rejected the argument of former Chief of Staff Rafael Eitan, a member of the Tehiya Party, that the zone be expanded northwards to the Litani River.
Similarly, he spurned the warning by Mapam MK Eliezer Granot that Israel was in danger of being sucked back into the Lebanon morass. Another leftist MK, Yossi Sarid of the Citizens Rights Movement (CRM), reasoned that if the Shiite Moslem extremists, such as the Hezbullah, want so desperately to get UNIFIL out of Lebanon, that should be reason enough for Israel to want it to stay.
All Israelis were angered by the implication of the Security Council’s resolution that Israel’s refusal to allow UNIFIL to operate along the international border was somehow responsible for recent attacks on it. The French contingent suffered the most casualties.
Chief of Staff Levy said in an interview that he detected a link between the attacks on French UNIFIL troops and the recent spate of terrorist bombings in Paris. They were premeditated attacks in Paris and have nothing whatever to do with Israel, Levy said.