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January 23, 1987 - Image 14

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-01-23

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

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41

South Lebanon

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Continued from Page 1

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Friday, January 23, 1987

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morale.
Trained, equipped and
financed by Jerusalem, the
SLA was created in the wake
of Israel's withdrawal from
Lebanon in June 1985 to
police a security zone that
runs the full length of the
Israeli-Lebanese border at a
depth of up to 20 kilometres
inside Lebanon. The SLA is
enriched with an estimated
500 Israeli "advisers" who
ride shotgun with SLA
patrols and assist at SLA
checkpoints.
So far, the militia has ful-
filled Israeli expectations, but
now, reeling under the effect
of a series of well-planned, ef-
ficiently executed Hizbollah
offensives, doubts are being
expressed not only about the
militia's ability to effectively
maintain the "cordon sani-
taire" in Lebanon, but also
about its ability to survive.
Senior Israeli officials have
long warned that the SLA
was inadequate to serve as an
instrument of Israel's will in
South Lebanon. Instead, they
advised forging an alliance
with the relatively moderate,
mainstream, Shi'ite Amal
movement, which shares with
Israel a powerful common in-
terest in keeping the Palesti-
nians out of South Lebanon.
With the specter of collapse
hanging over the SLA —
coupled with the resurgence
of the Palestinians and the
fundamentalists — Israeli
military planners must con-
front the unpalatable necessi-
ty of sending a substantial
force into Lebanon to defend
Israel's border and maintain
the security of its northern
towns and settlements.
The commander of the
SLA, General Antoine
Lahad, insists that his force
will continue to function as
an effective and cohesive
military organization, but
Israeli politicians and defense
analysts are skeptical.
According to Dr Yosef
Olmert, of the Tel Aviv
University Center for
Strategic Studies, the militia
is now facing one of its most
formidable challenges. "The
recent attacks will test the
credibility of the SLA and its
ability to stand up to sus-
tained pressure," he said.
The attacks will also test
Israel's determination to
stand behind the militia and
maintain its security zone in
Lebanon.
Air raids on Palestinian
and Hizbollah bases in South
Lebanon and the interception
by the navy of N, assels sailing
between Cyprus and the
Lebanese port of Jounieh
with suspected Palestinian
fighters on board, were clear-
ly designed to curtail the
operational effectiveness of
both groups.
The raids on Hizbollah

targets, however, were muted
following a request from
Washington, which is con-
cerned about the fate of
United States hostages being
held by the fundamentalists.
Moreover, Israeli leaders
are aware of the grave

The raids on
Hizbollah targets
were muted
following a request
from Washington.

dangers in a significant )
return of Israeli troops to
South Lebanon, particularly
if they are deployed beyond
the defined security zone.
In addition to increasing
the hostility of the dominant
Shi'ite population in the area,
such a move will dramatical-
ly increase the prospect of a
direct confrontation with
Syria, which seek hegemony
over all of Lebanon.
So far, Syria's President
Hafez Assad has been con- c'\
tent to wage his war against
Israel through proxies —
Syria's Hizbollah aganist
Israel's SLA.
But the direct, large-scale
intervention of Israel in
Lebanon could prove too
great a challenge for even the
cautious, pragmatic Syrian )
leader to resist.

Fresh Air

Continued from Page 1

building would be open on
scheduled days for different
age groups and families, and
could also be used by
synagogues and Jewish com-
munal organizations and
schools, as well as a teen drop-
in center.
"We know we have the serv-
ices for kids in the summer,"
Lipsitz said. "We want to re-
create that magic between our
staff and the kids in the winter
in the city. We want to put that
magic environment in a neut-
ral environment."
The Adventure Center gives
FAS a chance to test a concept,
"to see if we can provide a serv-
ice to the community in lots of
areas. It is a way of promoting
camp, and a way of getting the
kids out of the malls and off the
streets."
Lipsitz said that fees, opera-
tional hours and other details (_\
of the project are still being
worked out, but FAS hopes to
have it operational by mid-
February, utilizing 15 staff
members from its summer pro-
grams.
"As far as we know," Lipsitz
said, "this is not being done
anywhere else in the country.
If we can provide a comfortable
environment, a non-
threatening, - constructive
environment, then we are serv-
ing a need."

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