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November 11, 1983 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-11-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

12 Friday, November 11, 1983


Israel Re-Opens Awali Bridges
After Suicide Attack on Tyre HQ


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■ i.

bridges across the Awali
River, closed since Friday,
were reopened Monday to
pedestrians and some ve-
hicles. The relaxation of the
restrictions, imposed after
Friday's suicide truck bomb
attack on Israeli military
headquarters in Tyre, ap-
parently ended a heated de-
bate in government circles
over whether south Leba-
non should be sealed off
from the rest of the country
as a security precaution.
The consensus among


political and military lead-
ers was that the isolation of
south Lebanon would be
counter-productive and
politically dangerous. For
one thing it would allow cri-
tics to claim an Israeli in-
tention to partition Leba-
non and transform the
southern part of the country
into an Israeli province.
Moreover, Shiite Mos-
lems who constitute the
majority in south Lebanon,
would have protested
fiercely if they were cut off
from family and fellow
Shiites in the rest of the


The most vocal oppo-
nent of re-opened bridges
was Science Minister
Yuval Neeman of the
ultra-nationalist Tehiya
party. He insisted that
the crossings remain
closed to protect Israeli
forces from a repetition
of Friday's attack in
which 28 Israelis and 32
Lebanese were killed.
Twenty-nine Israelis and
12 Lebanese were in-
Neeman was overruled,
however. Pedestrians were

able to cross into south
Lebanon Monday without
restriction, apart from
routine checks. Vehicles
were allowed southward on
a selective basis and under
strict controls.
At the same time, the less

sensitive Lebanon-Israel
border crossing at Rosh
Hanikra was also re-opened
for the first time since Fri-

day, allowing Lebanese
stranded on business or
family visits to Israel to re-
turn home.
These developments took
place against the back
ground of new attacks on Is

raeli troops in south Leba-
non. One Israeli soldier was

wounded Sunday when his
patrol came under small
arms fire near the Zaharani
River. Another patrol was
shot at on Monday near
Sidon but there were no
Meanwhile, Israeli
authorities acted to de-
fuse tension with Syria as
various analysts urged
political rather than mili-
tary measures to extri-
cate Israel from the
Lebanese morass. Mili-
tary sources stressed that
Israel has no intention of
attacking Syria. That as-
surance came after re-
ports that Damascus has
begun mobilizing re-

It was intended to calm
Arab fears of sudden call-up
of Israeli reservists. Israel is
holding a practice mobiliza-
One analyst, Gen (Res.)

Aharon Yariv, former chief
of military intelligence, told
a press conference Monday
that Lebanon's problems
can be solved only by politi-
cal means, not by war.
Yariv, who heads the Jaffee
Center for Strategic Studies
at Tel Aviv University, said
Israel should limit its objec-
tives in Lebanon and reduce
its forces to the bare
minimum to ensure peace
for Galilee.

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Israel must realize, Yariv
said, that Syria has vital
interests in Lebanon. In
that connection, he
suggested that an indirect
arrangement be worked out
with the Syrians, possibly
through the U.S. or, by way
of Washington, through
Saudi Arabia, to let the Sy-
rians know what consti-
tutes the "red line" beyond
which their conduct will not
be acceptable to Israel. The
Syrians, said Yariv, are not
interested in a conflict with

Former Chief of Staff
Gen. Mordechai Gur, now a
Labor MK, also believes an
understanding should be
worked out with Damascus
through intermediaries.
According to Gur, Palestine
Liberation Organization
chief Yasir Arafat, now
under seige by Syrian-
backed PLO dissidents in
northern Lebanon, is on the
way out. He predicted that
the PLO would now come
under the control of Syria.

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