Seven years after the Lebanon war, there is a broad consensus in Israel not to intervene again in that country’s troubles.
Israel has no intention of coming to the aid of its erstwhile Lebanese Christian allies, whose strongholds in Beirut and elsewhere are being battered by a Syrian force of 40,000.
Vice Premier Shimon Peres made that clear Tuesday during a tour of settlements in Galilee. Israel pulled out of Lebanon determined never to return, he said.
He added that the main lesson to be learned from the world’s apparent lack of concern for the ongoing bloodshed in Lebanon is that every country has to depend on its own forces.
The embattled Christians in Beirut no longer seek or expect Israeli assistance. They are relying on themselves and on generous supplies of arms and ammunition from Iraq to resist the severe Syrian shelling.
Israel believes it has done its share by alerting the world to the carnage in Lebanon.
Foreign Minister Moshe Arens on Monday telephoned U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger and the foreign ministers of France, Spain and Italy to express concern over events in Lebanon.
Arens sent a similar message to Cairo through the Egyptian ambassador to Israel, Mohammed Basiouny.
Wafd, the newspaper of the opposition party in Egypt, said this week that the government is more concerned with Israel than with Syrian activity in Lebanon.
The Egyptian government sent Israel a clear message not to intervene in Lebanon, the newspaper said. It warned of a sharp reaction if the Israel laved.
There was no confirmation of such a message in Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, the Christian leader in Lebanon, Gen. Michel Aoun, expressed confidence that the Syrian forces will be driven out of the country.
But Knesset member Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, a reserve general once actively involved in assisting the Lebanese Christians, believes their confidence is unfounded.
If the Syrians want to capture the Christian enclave they can do it in 48 hours, Ben-Eliezer said.
He said, however, that the purpose of their massive shelling seems to be to bring down Aoun without seizing his stronghold.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.