INTRODUCTION: Syrian officials reported on Tuesday (12 May) that Syrian forces in Lebanon had shot down an Israeli aircraft over the Bekaa Valley of eastern Lebanon.
SV Prime Minister begin out of car and walks towards office
SV U.S. Ambassador and special envoy Philip Habib arrive and enter Begin's office
SV Begin and Habib take seats and talk to newsmen (4 shots)
SV Habib leaves begin's office, talks to newsmen and enter car
GV Knesset members of parliament sitting
GV Begin speaking
SV Abba Eban and Peres (opposition) sitting
SCU Begin argues case
SV Peres arguing a point
SV Members of parliament interjecting
SV President of parliament speaking
GV Members voting
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Syrian officials reported on Tuesday (12 May) that Syrian forces in Lebanon had shot down an Israeli aircraft over the Bekaa Valley of eastern Lebanon. Military authorities said that the Israeli reconnaissance aircraft had been claimed by the Syrian forces operating within the Arab Deterrent Force. The claim came a few hours after Israeli's Prime Minister, Menachem Begin had his Parliament in Jerusalem that the Israeli Air Force had been ordered to attack Syrian missile installations in Lebanon on April 30 but bad weather had prevented the operation.
SYNOPSIS: Prime Minister Begin made the statement on the missiles during a busy day on Monday (11 May) during which he received a visit from a United States peace mission led by President Reagan's special envoy Philip Habib. The mission had previously visited Beirut and Damascus for talks aimed at persuading the Syrians to remove SAM-6 surface-to-air missiles stationed in Lebanon.
Mr. Begin had earlier said it would take a miracle for the diplomatic efforts to succeed. He made it clear that his government would not tolerate under any circumstances the continued presence of the missiles on Lebanese territory. He said Israeli regarded them as posing a serious threat to its security.
After his meeting with Mr. Begin, Mr. Habib went to meet Israeli's Chief of Staff, Lieutenant-General Rafael Eitan and other military leaders. However, Israeli and American officials declined to reveal any details of the discussions.
In his speech to the Knesset (parliament) Mr. Begin appealed to Syria to make conflict unnecessary by restoring the status quo that existed in Lebanon a month ago, before fighting between Syrian forces and Lebanese Christian militia.
Mr. Begin's disclosure that the attack plan had been foiled by the weather brought strong criticism from some members of the opposition. Mr. Begin and other Israeli leaders had made it clear that orders to attack would again be issued if Mr. Habib's peace mission failed. He said that already Syria had added further missiles batteries to the original three inside Lebanon.
Israeli officials have made it clear that their main concern is the effect the missiles could have on inhibiting Israeli air strikes against Palestinian guerrilla bases in Lebanon. Syria says the missile batteries were installed after Israel had shot down two Syrian helicopters.