17 May Agreement Lebanon

The agreement was signed on May 17, 1983 by William Drapper for the United States, David Kimche for Israel and Antoine Fattal for Lebanon. Lebanese President Amine Gemayel was recently elected by the Syrian Nationalist Social Party after the assassination of his brother, President-elect Bashir Gemayel, a long-time ally of Israel. Some Lebanese supported President Amin Gemayel and argued that his close relations with the United States could help establish peace and restore Lebanese sovereignty, which they saw threatened not only by the Israeli occupation, but also by the Syrian occupation. Lebanese political analysts note that only the Reagan administration, which refers to the May 17 agreement as its only “success” in foreign policy, still insists that Syrians and their Lebanese deputies be somehow led to accept it. Washington seems to be sticking to this idea, although all American-backed diplomatic efforts to resolve the Lebanese conflict have failed since September precisely because either side would not participate if the terms of the agreement were not met. British Foreign Secretary Sir Geoffrey Howe told reporters after his recent trip to the Middle East that he saw no chance of progress in Lebanon until the May 17 pact was repealed. Meanwhile, the country is dragging a truce ceasefire and seems to be disintegrating a little more every day. The Lebanese pound regularly falls to new lows, electricity has become a luxury that Beirut residents enjoy only six or seven hours a day, and madness seems to engulf more and more innocent victims, as evidenced by the murder of Malcolm H. Kerr, the popular president of the American University of Beirut, last week. The importance of the agreement has been discussed since it was signed.

He called for the withdrawal of all Israeli forces from southern Lebanon in exchange for security measures to prevent the return of anti-Israeli guerrillas. He also described the political and economic relations that should normalize relations between Lebanon and Israel. But the agreement has not been implemented. In a subsidiary letter, Israel and the United States agreed that Israeli troops should not withdraw until the Syrian and Palestinian forces do the same. At the time, this seemed to be a reasonable request from the Israelis. But it gave the Syrians a veto, which they refused anyway, because it threatened to withdraw Lebanon from the Syrian orbit and to get closer to its enemies, Israel and Egypt, signatories of Camp David.