Middle East: The Attack That Almost Was

Israel comes close to launching an assault on southern Lebanon

For months diplomats and military experts around the world have been expecting land and air strikes by Israeli forces against Palestine Liberation Organization strongholds in southern Lebanon. That assault was narrowly averted last week, though perhaps not for long. TIME has learned that Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, in a last-minute decision, rejected a plan by Defense Minister Ariel Sharon and Chief of Staff Lieut. General Rafael Eitan that could have led to war in Lebanon.

Sharon and Eitan had recommended a modest...

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