TEL AVIV (Nov. 8)
Israeli army commanders, touring the south Lebanon security zone, reiterated their commitment to the zone’s security and warned Lebanese militia and Syria not to embark upon new terrorism against Israel as a result of the new order now emerging in Lebanon.
Israel Defense Force sources have warned that as a result of instructions given Wednesday in Beirut to various militias to disarm and ultimately dissolve, formerly sparring factions may now turn their common attention southward.
The seriousness with which Israel views the danger of renewed terrorism was underlined Thursday by Defense Minister Moshe Arens, who toured Israel’s northern border and the adjacent Lebanon security zone with IDF Chief of Staff Dan Shomron and the commanding officer of the northern sector.
Israel’s commitment to the security of its allies in southern Lebanon remains firm, Israel military correspondents were told Wednesday by IDF commanders during the tour.
The assurance refers to Israel’s long-time alliance with the Southern Lebanon Army, a Christian militia.
SLA leader Gen. Antoine Lahad said Syria was 100 percent behind the plan to disarm and remove the militias, and that Syria also wants to extend its influence to southern Lebanon.
“The Syrians will turn all the hostile groups, Amal and Hezbollah, to actions against the south,” he said.
Arens repeated the warning to Syria not to allow the southward movement of the Moslem Shi’ite Amal and Hezbollah militias.
According to the Lebanese master plan, the various militias would disarm this Saturday and would pull out of the greater Beirut area to designated regions by no later than Nov. 19. According to the plan, which was announced by President Elias Hrawi, all militias are to be dissolved by March 1991.
The Lebanese president said Palestinian guerrillas would also be disarmed under the sweeping plan.
But IDF sources said armed Palestinians have returned to Tyre and Sidon and now number between 800 to 1,000, the same number as before the Lebanon war.
IDF sources see no party in Lebanon capable of stopping the development of a Palestinian infrastructure in Lebanon.
They said a test case for rising anti-Israel terrorist activities over the coming months will be Jezzine, a Christian town just north of the security zone.
If Jezzine falls, the whole zone will be in danger, IDF sources said.
Arens reassured Lahad that the IDF would provide “maximum support” to the SLA if the Jezzine area is attacked and the SLA is forced move north of the security zone.