The Washington Post in its June 15 edition incorrectly identified Israeli Labor Party leader and former defense minister Shimon Peres as a former prime minister. The same story also incorrectly identified Maj. Gen. Avigdor Ben-Gal.
For years, Israel has dreamed longingly of a cordon sanitaire in southern Lebanon that would put an end, once and for all, to the debilitating and terrifying raids launched periodically from there by Palestinian guerrillas, not to mention the occasional shelling of northern settlements.
On March 14 the Israeli Army swept across the border, driving the guerrillas before them. Last Tuesday, with the U.N. peacekeeping force and Israel's Lebanese allies, the rightist Christian Militia, moving into positions along the frontier, the Israelis pulled out, seemingly having achieved the goal of a safe buffer zone.
Yet, Israel may have left itself with two other major problems as a consequence of its drive into Lebanon.
The first is the danger of having the tail wag the dog. The Christian militia, which has only loose ties to the central government in Beirut, has a track record of precipitous - and sometimes unrestrained - action.
The second problem is that the Israelis, by invading Lebanon and bringing on the installation of the United Nations there, may not have fully closed the door on future preemptive strikes against guerrillas in Lebanon but they have made such strikes untenable because of the danger to the U.N. troops in the area.
Israel's decision to install the Christian militia in the border region was in defiance of the interpretation U.N. officials in the Middle East put on the Security Council resolution establishing the peacekeeping force. They said the Council intended that the United Nations would be totally responsible for maintaining peace in southern Lebanon following the Israeli withdrawal.
Israeli officials, in turn, privately said that they had little confidence in the U.N. force's ability to keep the Palestine Liberation Organization guerrillas away from the border, much less above the Litani River farther north.
One high-ranking U.N. official who, did not want to be named, said that no amount of troops alone could secure the river from PLO infiltration, and that the only effective means would be extensive fencing and electronic surveillance and detection devices. He estimated that even before the Israelis completed their withdrawal the PLO had infiltrated some 200 guerrillas back into the area.
On Tuesday, the U.N. Middle East commander, Gen. Ensio Siilasvuo, indicated official disapproval of Israel's installation of the Christian militia along the border.
Following talks with Lebanese Prime Minister Salim Hoss and Defense and Foreign Minister Fuad Butros, Siilasvuo issued a statement that said the Lebanese government reiterated its position that to fulfill its mandate, the U.N. force "must be deployed and in a control of all areas up to the international border."
The statement went on to say, in a somewhat painful acknowledgement of the realities, "In this connection, I wish to clarify that UNIFIL (The U.N. Force in Lebanon) as not accompished that objective. But UNIFIL will continue to try to achieve it."
At a formal ceremony Tuesday in the village of [WORD ILLEGIBLE] where the Israelis turned over their position to the Christian militia, the Christian commander, Maj. Saad Haddad, said that he and his men would be in charge from the Mediterranean Sea to the foothills on Mt. Hermon - in other words, across the full length of the frontier.
Haddad put together his 700 man force from the remnants of the former Lebanese army in 1976 at the end of the 18 month civil war between the rightist Christians and predominantely leftist Palestinians and Moslems. Based at the old garrison at Marjayoun, they have been the recipents of generous amounts of money and arms from Israel.
The involvement of Israel in a thorny international situation - with the potential of affecting troops from nine other countries - was the focus of much debate by Israeli members of parliament.
There were mixed feelings expressed about the success of Operation Litani, as the drive into Lebanon was called. On the one hand there was gratitude that the Israeli soldiers were out and that a blow had been struck against the PLO. On the other hand there was chagrin that the job was not completed and that Israel had bought itself new problems.
"We simply exchanged one set of problems for another set of problems," said Shimon Peres, chairman of the Labor Party and former Prime Minister. Former foreign minister Yigal Allon said that while the invasion may deny the PLO a logistical base and inhibit the terrorists for a while, he expects guerrillas to be back along the border soon.
Reflecting some of those views, Davar, the Hebrew-language daily, commented, "The conditions of the evacuation ... strengthen the criticism and the apprehensions with regard to the nature and the scale of the operation in the first place. The presence of the U.N. forces is liable to restrict the powers of the [Israeli army] in case of a resumption of terrorist activity."
Yet, Brig. Gen. Aluf Ben-Gal, Israel's commander in the north, did not seem completely restricted.
In a television interview, Ben-Gal was asked whether new terrorist raids would prompt Israel to go back into southern Lebanon. While saying that such action would have to be a political decision, Ben-Gal added, "as a military officer I will definitely recommend that they do so."
Yet many Israelis in public life feel much like the cartoon yesterday in Maariv that showed Israeli soldiers pulling a gigantic slingshot at the border and seemingly being threatened with momentary propulsion back into Lebanon.