President Ronald Reagan Blasts Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin Over Lebanon Shelling
JANE PAULEY, anchor: Negotiators hope to resume work this morning on the plan to evacuate the PLO finders, the bombing became so intense Tuesday though that officials Thursday, officials in Beirut could not meet with Ambassador Habib. The continued Israeli attacks with peace apparently so near, it drew fire from the White House. Karen Gray reports.
KAREN GRAY, reporting: An angry President Reagan made a personal phone call to Israel’s Prime Minister Begin expressing shock and outrage at the latest massive shelling, demanding an end to the needless bloodshed and destruction saying the US and Israeli relations was at stake. Spokesman Larry Speakes in a White House statement said Israel’s actions halted ambassador Habib’s peace negotiations just when they were at the point of success. He also said the President in his telephone call made it clear it is imperative that a ceasefire must hold.
20 minutes later Prime Minister Begin called President Reagan back saying a ceasefire had been ordered. Despite the obvious pressure White House officials are refusing to discuss whether the President was ordered to threats to recall Ambassador Habib or to withhold arms from Israel. Karen Gray, NBC News, at the White House.