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U.S. Warns Israel That It is Responsible for Protection of Lives of People in South Lebanon

February 18, 1983
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The State Department warned Israel today that as the “occupying power in southern Lebanon” it is responsible for the protection of the lives of the people there.

The warning came as State Department spokesman John Hughes said he could not “confirm or deny” reports that Maj. Saad Haddad’s Christian militia has entered Sidon, Lebanon’s fourth largest city. But, he added, “we are concerned for the safety of the civilian population and have urged the Israeli and Lebanese authorities and others to ensure that all parties fulfill their responsibilities for protecting the lives of the inhabitants of Lebanon.”

Hughes said the Israeli government is “fully aware” of the American view that “as long as Israel is the occupying power in southern Lebanon it bears an important responsibility under international law for maintenance of public order and the protection of the inhabitants of the area under occupation.”

He said the dispute over whether Haddad’s fore should be given authority by the Lebanese government for the maintenance of security in south Lebanon is an internal matter for the Lebanese government.

“In general, our position remains that we support the restoration of the authority of the Lebanese central government throughout Lebanon in conjunction with the earliest possible complete withdrawal of all foreign forces from that country,” Hughes said.

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