The Israeli government announced yesterday that the last Israeli troops will pull out of southern Lebanon by June 13, Washington Post special correspondent Yuval Elizur reported.
Israel has already withdrawn from most of the area it occupied in mid March. It now holds only a narrow strip inside the Lebanese border.
Government spokesman Aryeh Naor said the Israeli withdrawal was not conditional on steps it hopes the United Nations will take to prevent the return of Palestinian guerrilla forces to the area and to insure the safety of local residents.
The government also reacted publicly to the U.S. sale of warplanes to Arab nations. Naor said that members of the government discussed the significance of the warplane sale and "expressed concern over the military balance in the Middle East. They expressed the opinion that there has been a violation of an unconditional commitment to supply weapons to Israel."
"All these create a danger to Israel and the government will act to reduce it," Naor said.
While condemning the warplane sale, the government refused to reveal just what it was going to do. Officials declined to say whether the government planned to go ahead with production of a new advanced Israeli warplane called the Arye (lion).
Because discussion of Lebanon and the warplane sale took up most of the government's meeting yesterday, a discussion of propects for renewed peace talks with Egypt had to be postponed.