The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California on November 8, 1982 · 5
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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California · 5

Los Angeles, California
Issue Date:
Monday, November 8, 1982
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MI Moml.iv. Noumlxr X. V)H2 I'iirl I 11 Cob Angeles ftlmee MASSACRE: Key Israeli General Testifies Israeli Cabinet Pledges to Continue Settlement Policy Hy NOKMAN KF.Ml'STFK, Times Stall Wntrr are among nine authorized by the Cabinet earlier this year Israeli of finals complained that the U.S. reaction made it appear that the five settlements are new ones. However, levy's sMech hud created the same impression. It is possible that the Americans and the Israelis are talking past each other, each aiming their remarks at different audiences. He-gin's government wants lo convince domestic Israeli public opinion that the settlements will continue. The United States, on the other hand, would like lo convince Arab governments that it is sincere in Us opposition to expanded Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. About 1.2 million Palestinians and about 30,000 Jews live in the two territories, which Israel captured from Jordan and Kgypt during the Six-Day War of 19G7. In any event, the debate may be somewhat academic or premature. On Sunday, the newspaper Maariv quoted Simcha Ehrlich, chairman of the Cabinet's settlement committee, as saying no money has been appropriated to start construction on any of the previously approved outposts. Ehrlich dismissed the talk of expanded settlements just now as "wishful thinking." In another development Sunday, Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir reported to the Cabinet that U.S. special envoy Morris Draper has so far been unable to develop procedures for direct negotiations between Israel and Lebanon over mutual security issues. Continued from Flril Paf Maj. Gen. Amir Dron, chief of the Israeli northern command, had ordered the Falangist lo stop their operation as a result of reports of mistreatment of civilians in the Sa-bra and Chalilla refugee camps. The meeting wan attended by Ki-tan. Dron and Yaron on the Israeli side and by several unidentified Falangist commanders. Yaron said Eilan told the Falangist leaders that "you did a good job" and authorized them to continue until 5 a.m. the next day. "That means you left the meeting with the chief of staff feeling that the operation would be resumed?" commission member Aharon Barak asked. "Until Saturday morning," Yaron replied. "Was there a formal instruction by the chief of staff to resume?" Barak asked. "Because the chief of staff reported to the defense minister in the evening (of Sept. 17) that he gave an order to stop. ... I want to understand if at 4 he gave an order to resume." "At 4 he gave an order that they could stay in the camps until 5 in the morning," Yaron replied. "From my point of view, that meant they could stay till 5 in the morning." Yaron then read from a summary of the meeting: "The Lebanese Forces ( the overall Christian militia organization) will continue clean ing up actions in the empty camps south of the Fakhani neighborhood until Sepi. 18 at 0500." Yaron corroborated testimony given by Dron last week that Dron and Yaron decided on the morning of Sept. 17 to order the Falangists lo stop their operation because of reports of a possible atrocity. Both Yaron and Dron said they knew nothing of the scope of the massacre but had received information that gave them a "bad feeling" about the whole Falangist opera-lion. Yaron also revealed that shortly after he and Drori ordered the Falangists to stop the action, he gave the Christian militiamen permission to send fresh forces into the camps to replace tired troops that had been there overnight. Prime Minister Menachem Begin is scheduled to testify today before the three-member commission appointed to determine what responsibility Israel bears for the massacre, from which the Red Cross has reported 330 bodies have been recovered. Other sources estimate that many hundreds more were killed and their bodies buried. Yaron, commander of the Israeli division that controlled the refugee camp area, said he first heard reports of possible irregularities as early as 10 p.m. Sept. 16, just a few hours after between 100 and 130 Falangist militiamen, with Israeli permission, entered the camps to flush out Palestine LiU-ralion Or gamzation guerrillas thought to ) hiding there He said he did not inform Dron. his immediate superior, of his xuspi cions until the next day Dron thru ordered the Falangists to slop .ind hold their positions pending a d- i sion by Eitan. Dron testified last week that on Sept. 17, after the order lo stop had leen given, the Falangists proposed sending a much larger force, including tanks, armored personnel carriers, artillery and mortars, into the camps to reinforce troops already there. Dron said he and Yaron decided to deny the Falangist "main force" permission to enter the camps. However, Yaron testified that between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Sept. 17, he agreed to allow the Falangists to rotate their troops and send in fresh supplies of ammunition. "I said to them, 'You're going to take out the force from those places. You'll bring in 100 men to replace them. . . . You're going to trade building for building; that means the same force that held buildings will go out and a fresh force will replace them. . . . You don't advance; you don't do anything,' " Yaron said. Yaron said he warned the Falangists several times about attacking civilians. He said Falangist commanders insisted that they would not hurt noncombatants. the first two years of the Reagan Administration. After the Cabinet meeting. Deputy I'nme Minister David l,evy. who also serves as Begins housing minister, said the Cabinet's action "again strengthened my hand and guaranteed greater validity to the position I hold the settlements will be built." The argument spotlighted Washington-Jerusalem tension just four days before Bcgin's scheduled departure on a 10-day trip to the United States, which will include a scheduled meeting with Reagan at the White House on Nov. 19. The Israeli Cabinet action may have been designed as a preemptive strike against a U.S. effort to make an issue of settlement policy during Begin's visit. From a practical standpoint, there is nothing particularly new in the dispute. Last week, Levy, in a speech marking the dedication of a new Jewish outpost near the West Bank Arab town of Ramallah, said five additional settlements will be built soon. Those remarks drew the criticism from the White House and State Department. Israeli officials said later that the five settlements Levy referred to JKKUSAl.F.M-The Israeli Catu-iH'l on Sunday rejmed U.S. criticism of Israel's West Hank sctlle-nu'iu policy and vowed lo continue without change the program of establishing Jewish outpost. in the occupied territory. Stale-run Israel radio, quoting Cabinet sources, said I'nme Minister Menachem Begin instructed Ambassador Moshe Arens lo lodge a formal protest in Washington against statements issued last week by both the White House and State Department calling further Israeli settlements "not helpful" to the cause of peace. A senior official declined to confirm the radio report but made it clear that Israel is annoyed by the U.S. criticism. The official speculated that the American reaction was intended to generate support among Arabs and especially King Hussein of Jordan for President Reagan's Middle East peace initiative. In announcing his initiative Sept. 1, Reagan called for an immediate freeze on new settlements. "The emphasis now in the United States is on dragging and pushing Hussein to negotiations," the official said. 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