Netanyahu proposes to ways for withdrawal from south Lebanon
Lebanon-Israel, Politics, 3/3/1999
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said there might be a way for the Israeli Army to leave south Lebanon. This might be done by one of the two following ways, he said, either by an agreement with Syria, but in a way that does not oblige Israel to pay a heavy price, or through a unilateral withdrawal from south Lebanon in a way not leading to the close approach of the Hizbullah Party to the northern border of Israel.
In an interview he gave on Tuesday to Israeli Army radio, Netanyahu refused to deny or admit reports which said that the Israeli government had drawn a plan to withdraw from south Lebanon and confine the presence of the Israeli Army only to an area not to exceed three kilometers along the borders with Lebanon and within the Lebanese territories.
Netanyahu added that the current Israeli government had taken a clear decision providing for withdrawal from south Lebanon according to UN Security Council resolution 425 as well as another decision that would find and ensure proper chances to carry out such a withdrawal.
Netanyahu asserted that the two resolutions are considered one of the achievements of his government. Netanyahu expressed his hope that the Israeli government he will form if he wins May elections will be able to withdraw the Israeli Army from south Lebanon during next year. He refused to give a final date for such a withdrawal.
Netanyahu accused the former Israeli government and the chairman of the Israeli Labor Party, Ehud Barak, of being responsible for involving the Israeli Army in south Lebanon and of what he described as restricting the freedom of movement and activities in all parts of Lebanon, through the April Understanding, which Netanyahu claimed prevented the Israeli Army from striking Hizbullah's centers in big cities and Lebanese populated areas, especially mosques where Hizbullah men are often present.
Netanyahu added that his government is working for the withdrawal of the Israeli Army from south Lebanon in a way not to be conducive to giving the Syrians the chance to have "all what they are waiting for."
He said his government's readiness to withdraw from south Lebanon without paying a heavy price does not at all mean Israel's withdrawal from the Golan Heights. He stressed that he will not do what had been done by the Israeli Labor government in this respect when the Labor government promised the Syrians to withdraw from the Golan Heights to the lake of Tabaraya.
Netanyahu continued that Israel is in need of Jabal al-Sheikh (Hermon) as it needs its eyes and ears, adding that there are key minerals in the Golan.
He said there is no need to make promises that Israel will respond to the requests of the Syrians or even to give fixed dates for withdrawal from south Lebanon.
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