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The Sinai-Suez Campaign: British Cabinet Expresses Concern About Israeli Invasion of Lebanon

(June 9, 1982)

The British are worried about Israel's advance toward Beirut and the possibility of a war breaking out with Syria. They are also upset by the failure of the United States to pressure the Israelis to withdraw.

THE FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH SECRETARY said that the potential consequences of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon were grave The next few days would be critical. Israel's declared objectives had already been achieved, but Israeli forces were continuing their advance and were within reach of Beirut. So far there had been no major clash between Israeli and Syrian forces but the risk of this was increasing. The United Kingdom had voted in favour of the draft United Nations Security Council Resolution calling for a ceasefire and Israeli withdrawal and had made public statements in support of Lebanon's territorial integrity. The United States, who alone were in a position to exercise effective pressure on the Israeli Government, were not doing so. It was not yet possible to say what might be the price of achieving an eventual Israeli withdrawal or the best way to seek to bring stability to the area thereafter.

Source: British National Archives CAB 128/74/2