Israeli–Lebanese conflict


Israeli–Lebanese conflict

The Israeli-Lebanese conflict describes a series of related military clashes involving Israel, Lebanon, and various non-state militias acting from within Lebanon.

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) recruited militants in Lebanon from among the families of Palestinian refugees who had been expelled or fled due to the creation Israel in 1948.cite book
title=Lonely Planet Syria & Lebanon
last=Humphreys
first=Andrew
coauthors=Lara Dunston, Terry Carter
year=2004
format=Paperback
pages=31
id=ISBN 1-86450-333-5
] [cite journal
url=http://meria.idc.ac.il/journal/2000/issue3/eisenberg.pdf
title=Do Good Fences Make Good Neighbors?: Israel and Lebanon After the Withdrawal
author=Eisenberg, Laura Zittrain
publisher=Middle East Review of International Affairs
date=Fall 2000
format=PDF
accessdate=1 October
accessyear=2006
] By 1968, the PLO and Israel were committing cross border attacks against each other in violation of Lebanese sovereignty.cite book
title=Pity the Nation: The Abduction of Lebanon
last=Fisk
first=Robert
publisher=Thunder's Mouth Press / Nation's Books
location=New York
pages=74
chapter=3
id=ISBN 1-56025-442-4
year=2002
] After the PLO leadership and its Fatah brigade were expelled from Jordan for fomenting a revolt, they entered Lebanon and the cross-border violence increased. Meanwhile, demographic tensions over the Lebanese National Pact lead to the Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990). [cite book
title=Bound by Struggle: The Strategic Evolution of Enduring International Rivalries
last=Mor
first=Ben D.
coauthors=Zeev Moaz
pages=192
chapter=7
publisher=University of Michigan Press
year=2002
id=ISBN 0-472-11274-0
location=Ann Arbor
] Israel's 1978 invasion of Lebanon failed to stem the Palestinian attacks, but Israel invaded Lebanon again in 1982 and forcibly expelled the PLO. Israel withdrew to a slim borderland buffer zone, held with the aid of proxy militants in the South Lebanon Army (SLA). In 1985, a Lebanese Shi'te resistance movement sponsored by Iran,cite web
url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/1908671.stm
title=Who are Hezbollah?
first=Kathryn
last=Westcott
date=2002-04-04
publisher=BBC News
accessdate=7 October
accessyear=2006
] calling itself Hezbollah, called for armed struggle to end the Israel occupation of Lebanese territory. [cite web
url=http://www.ict.org.il/Articles/Hiz_letter.htm
author=Hezbollah
title=An Open Letter to all the Opressed in Lebanon and the World
date=1985-02-16
publisher=Institute for Counter-Terrorism
accessdate=7 October
acccessyear=2006
] When the Lebanese civil war ended and other warring factions agreed to disarm, Hezbollah and the SLA refused. Combat with Hezbollah weakened Israeli resolve and led to a collapse of the SLA and an early Israeli withdrawal in 2000 to their side of the UN designated border. [cite web
url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/may/26/newsid_2496000/2496423.stm
title=Hezbollah celebrates Israeli retreat
publisher=BBC
date=2000-05-26
accessdate=12 September
accessyear=2006
] Citing Israeli control of the Shebaa farms territory, Hezbollah continued cross border attacks intermittently over the next six years. Hezbollah now sought freedom for Lebanese citizens in Israeli prisons and successfully used the tactic of capturing Israeli soldiers as leverage for a prisoner exchange in 2004. [cite news
title=Factfile: Hezbollah
publisher=Aljazeera
url= http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/27EDF072-1581-48CE-812D-A34D7C89A333.htm
date=2006-07-12
] [cite news
title=Israel, Hezbollah swap prisoners
url= http://edition.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/01/29/prisoner.exchange/ |publisher=CNN
date=2004-01-29
] The capturing of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah ignited the 2006 Lebanon War.cite web
url=http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWB.NSF/db900SID/EGUA-6RZPCR?OpenDocument
title=Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (S/2006/560)
accessdate=2006-09-26
date=2006-07-21
publisher=United Nations Security Council
] Its ceasefire called for the disarmament of Hezbollah and the remaining armed camps of the PLO, and for Lebanon to control its southern border militarily for the first time in four decades.

Hostilities were suspended as of 8 September 2006. As of 2007 Hezbollah had not disarmed.cite web
url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/11/25/wlebanon125.xml
title=Hezbollah recruits thousands in Lebanon crisis
first=Hugh
last=Macleod
date=2007-11-25
publisher=Telegraph (UK)
] On 18 June 2008, Israel declared that it was open to peace talks with Lebanon. [cite web
url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jun/18/israelandthepalestinians.lebanon
title=Israel calls for Lebanon peace talks
first=Rory
last=McCarthy
publisher=The Guardian (UK)
date=2008-06-18
]

Background

[
Sykes-Picot Agreement] The territory of what would become the states of Israel and Lebanon were once both part of the long-lived Ottoman empire (1299–1924) until its defeat in World War I. As a result of Sinai and Palestine Campaign in 1917, the British occupied Palestine and parts of what would become Syria. French troops took Damascus in 1918. The League of Nations officially gave the French the Mandate of Syria and the British the Mandate of Palestine after the 1920 San Remo conference, in accordance with the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement.

The largely Christian enclave of the French Mandate became the French controlled Lebanese Republic in 1926. Lebanon became independent in 1943 as France was under German occupation, though French troops did not completely withdraw until 1946.

The rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, culminating in the Holocaust during World War II, had meant an increase of Jewish immigrants to a minority Jewish, majority Muslim Palestinian Mandate. [cite book
last=Bickerton
first=Ian
coauthors=Hill, Maria
year=2003
title=Contested Spaces: The Arab-Israeli Conflict
publisher=McGraw-Hill
id=ISBN 0-07-471217-9
pages=43 (Cited from 1922 census figures quoted in Janowsky, 1975)
] During the Great Arab Revolt of 1936–1939, and thereafter, the British increasingly came to rely on Jewish police forces to help maintain order. [cite book
last=Katz
first=Sam
year=1988
title=Israeli Units Since 1948
publisher=Osprey Publishing
id=ISBN 0-85045-837-4
] Eventually, the resultant rise in ethnic tensions and violence between the Arabs and Jews due to Jewish imigration and collaboration would force the British to withdraw in 1947. (The area of their Mandate east of the Jordan river had already become the independent state of Jordan in 1946.) The United Nations General Assembly developed a gerrymandered 1947 UN Partition Plan, [cite web
url=http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/un/res181.htm
title=United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181
date=1947-11-29
author=United Nations General Assembly
accessdate=14 October
accessyear=2006
] to attempt to give both Arabs and Jews their own states from the remains of the British Mandate; however, the situation quickly devolved into a full-fledged civil war.

1948 Arab-Israeli war

In 1948, the Lebanese army had by far the smallest regional army, consisting of only 3,500 soldiers. [cite book
last=Karsh
first=Efraim
year=2002
title=The Arab-Israeli Conflict. The Palestine War 1948
publisher=Osprey Publishing
id=ISBN 1-84176-372-1
page=27
] At the prompting of Arab leaders in the region, Lebanon agreed to join the other armies that were being assembled around the perimeter of the British Mandate territory of Palestine for the purpose of invading Palestine.Fact|date=November 2007 Lebanon committed 1,000 of these soldiers to the cause. The Arab armies waited for the end of the Mandate and the withdrawal of British forces, which was set for March 15, 1948.

Israel declared its independence on May 14, 1948. On 15 May1948, the British Mandate officially expired and, in , the seven member Arab League, including Lebanon, publicly proclaimed their aim of creating a democratic "United State of Palestine" in place of the two-state solution proposed by the United Nations. The League soon entered the conflict on the side of the Palestinian Arabs, thus beginning the international phase of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Transjordan, and Iraq declared war on the new state of Israel. They expected an easy and quick victory in what came to be called the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The Lebanon army joined the other Arab armies in the invasion. It crossed into the northern Galilee. By the end of the conflict, however, it had been repulsed by Israeli forces, which occupied South Lebanon. Israel signed armistice agreements with each of invading neighbours. The one with Lebanon was signed on 23 March 1949. [cite book
last=Shlaim
first=Avi
year=2001
title=Israel and the Arab Coalition: The War for Palestine
coauthor=Rogan, In Eugene and Avi Shlaim (eds.)
location=Cambridge
publisher=Cambridge University Press
id=ISBN 0-521-79476-5
pages=8
] As part of the agreement with Lebanon, Israel forces withdrew to the international border.

By the conclusion of that war, Israel had signed ceasefire agreements with all its Arab neighbors.cite web
title=Israel
publisher=Encarta Encycolpedia
url=http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761575008_10____75/Israel_(country).html#s75
] As between itself and the area set aside for Arabs under the United Nations Partition Plan, Israel's territory was greatly beyond the borders allocated to it under the Plan. However, it was understood by all the parties at the time that the armistice agreements were not peace treaties with Israel, nor the final resolution of the conflict between them, including the borders.

The Palestinian Refugee Problem

After the war, the United Nations estimated 711,000 [cite web
url=http://domino.un.org/unispal.nsf/9a798adbf322aff38525617b006d88d7/93037e3b939746de8525610200567883!OpenDocument
title=General Process Report and Supplementary Report Covering the period from 11 December 1949 to 23 October 1950
author=United Nations Concilliation Commission for Palestine
publiser=United Nations
location=New York
date=1951-10-23
accessdate=18 September
accessyear=2006
] Palestinian Arabs, out an estimated 1.8 million dwelling in the Mandate of Palestine, [cite web
url=http://www.mideastweb.org/unscop1947.htm
title=Recommendations to the General Assembly, A/364
author=United Nations Special Committee on Palestine
date=1947-09-03
publisher=UNSCOP
accessdate=October 14
accessyear=2006
] fled, emigrated or were forced out of Israel and entered neighboring countries. By 1949, there were 110,000 Palestinians in Lebanon, [cite book
title=Children of Palestine: Experiencing Forced Migration in the Middle East
last=Chatty
first=Dawn
coauthors=Hundt, Gillian Lewando
publisher=Berghahn Books
location=New York, Oxford
id=ISBN 1-84545-120-1
year=2005
pages=11
chapter=1
] moved into camps established by and administered by UNRWA.cite web
url=http://mondediplo.com/focus/mideast/region-lebanon-refugee
title=Lebanon: Palestinian refugees in the post-war period
last=Peetet
first=Julie M.
publisher=Le Monde diplomatique
month=December
year=1997
accessdate=1 October
accessyear=2006
]

With the exception of two camps in the Beirut area, the camps were mostly Muslim. Lebanese Christians feared that the Muslim influx would affect their political dominance and their assumed demographic majority. Accordingly, they imposed restrictions on the status of the Palestinian refugees. The refugees could not work, travel, or engage in political activities. Initially the refugees were too impoverished to develop a leadership capable of representing their concerns. Less democratic regimes also feared the threat the refugees posed to their own rule, but Lebanon would prove too weak to maintain a crackdown.cite book
title=Lonely Planet Syria & Lebanon
last=Humphreys
first=Andrew
coauthors=Lara Dunston, Terry Carter
year=2004
format=Paperback
pages=31
id=ISBN 1-86450-333-5
]

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) recruited militants in Lebanon from among the families of Palestinian refugees who had left Israel in 1948.cite book
title=Lonely Planet Syria & Lebanon
last=Humphreys
first=Andrew
coauthors=Lara Dunston, Terry Carter
year=2004
format=Paperback
pages=31
id=ISBN 1-86450-333-5
] [cite journal
url=http://meria.idc.ac.il/journal/2000/issue3/eisenberg.pdf
title=Do Good Fences Make Good Neighbors?: Israel and Lebanon After the Withdrawal
author=Eisenberg, Laura Zittrain
publisher=Middle East Review of International Affairs
date=Fall 2000
format=PDF
accessdate=1 October
accessyear=2006
]

The 1967 Six-Day War

Despite sharing in the ongoing border tensions over water, [cite web
url=http://www.american.edu/TED/ice/westbank.htm
title=Inventory of Conflict & Environment Case Studies: Jordan River Dispute
Publisher=American University
location=Washington, D.C
year=1997
month=November
accessdate=12 September
accessyear=2006
] Lebanon rejected calls by other Arab governments to participate in the 1967 Six-Day War.cite book
title=Lebanon: War and Politics in a Fragmented Society
last=Winslow
first=Charles
publisher=Routledge
location=London and New York
year=1996
pages=151
id=ISBN 0-415-14403-5
] Militarily weak in the south, Lebanon could not afford conflict with Israel.

Nevertheless, the loss of the remainder of Palestine radicalized the Palestinians languishing in refugee camps hoping to return home. The additional influx of refugees turned Palestinian camps throughout the Middle East into centers of guerilla activity.

Rise of the PLO (1968–1975)

From 1968 onwards, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) began conducting raids from Lebanon into Israel, and Israel began making retaliatory raids against Lebanese villages to encourage the Lebanese people to themselves deal with the interlopers.cite book
title=Pity the Nation: The Abuduction of Lebanon
last=Fisk
first=Robert
publisher=Thunder's Mouth Press / Nation's Books
location=New York
pages=74
chapter=3
id=ISBN 1-56025-442-4
year=2002
] After an Israeli airline was machine-gunned at Athens Airport, Israel bombed the Beirut International Airport in retaliation, destroying 13 civilian aircraft.

The unarmed citizenry could not expel the armed foreigners, while the Lebanese army was too weak militarily and politically. The Palestinian camps came under Palestianian control after a series of clashes in 1968 and 1969 between the Lebanese military and the emerging Palestinian guerilla forces. In 1969 the Cairo Agreement guaranteed refugees the right to work, to form self-governing committees, and to engage in armed struggle. "The Palestinian resistance movement assumed daily management of the refugee camps, providing security as well as a wide variety of health, educational, and social services."

On 8 May 1970, a PLO faction called the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) crossed into Israel and carried out the Avivim school bus massacre.

In 1970, the PLO attempted to overthrow a reigning monarch, King Hussein of Jordan, and following his quashing of the rebellion in what Arab historians call Black September, the PLO leadership and their troops fled from Jordan [cite web
url=http://www.onwar.com/aced/data/bravo/blacksept1970.htm
title=Black September in Jordan 1970-1971
date=2000-12-16
accessdate=15 September
accessyear=2006
publisher=Armed Conflict Events Database
] to Syria and finally Lebanon. After the PLO leadership and its Fatah brigade were expelled from Jordan in 1970 for fomenting a revolt, they entered Lebanon and the cross-border violence increased.

With headquarters now in Beirut, PLO factions recruited new members from the Palestinian refugee camps. [cite journal
url=http://meria.idc.ac.il/journal/2000/issue3/eisenberg.pdf
title=Do Good Fences Make Good Neighbors?: Israel and Lebanon After the Withdrawal
author=Eisenberg, Laura Zittrain
publisher=Middle East Review of International Affairs
date=Fall 2000
format=PDF
accessdate=1 October
accessyear=2006
] South Lebanon was nicknamed "Fatahland" due to the predominance there of Yasser Arafat's Fatah organization. With its own army operating freely in Lebanon, the PLO had created a state within a state. [cite book
title=The Conscience of Lebanon: A Political Biography of Ettiene Sakr (Abu-Arz)
last=Nisan
first=Mordechi
location=London, Portland, OR
publisher=Frank Cass
id=ISBN 0-7146-5392-6
year=2003
pages=20
] By 1975, more than 300,000 Palestinian displaced persons lived in Lebanon. [cite web
url = https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/le.html#Issues
title = Refugees and internally displaced persons
accessdate = 16 August
accessyear = 2006
date= 2006-08-08
work = Lebanon
publisher = The CIA World Factbook
]

In reaction to the 1972 Munich massacre, Israel carried out Operation Spring of Youth. Members of Israel's elite special forces landed by boat in Lebanon on 9 April 1973, and with the aid of Israeli intelligence agents, infiltrated the PLO headquarters in Beirut and assassinated several members of its leadership.

In 1974 the PLO altered its focus to include political elements, necessary for a dialogue with Israel. Those who insisted on a military solution left to form the Rejectionist Front, and Yassir Arafat took over the PLO leadership role. [cite web
url=http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Terrorism/plo.html
title=Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)
publisher=Jewish Virtual Library
accessdate=20 October
accessyear=2006
]

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command, which split from the PLO in 1974, carried out the Kiryat Shmona massacre in April of that year. In May 1974, the DFLP crossed again into Israel and carried out the Ma'alot massacre.

Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990)

The Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990) was a complex conflict in the form of various factions and shifting alliances between and among Lebanese Maronite Catholics, Lebanese Muslims, Palestinian Muslims, Lebanese Druze, and other non-sectarian groups. Governmental power had been allotted among the different religious groups by the National Pact based partially on the results of the 1932 census. Changes in demographics and increased feelings of deprivation by certain ethnic groups, as well as Israeli-Palestinian clashes in the south of the county all contributed to the outbreak of the Lebanese Civil War. [cite book
title=Bound by Struggle: The Strategic Evolution of Enduring International Rivalries
last=Mor
first=Ben D.
coauthors=Zeev Moaz
pages=192
chapter=7
publisher=University of Michigan Press
year=2002
id=ISBN 0-472-11274-0
location=Ann Arbor
]

Beginning in May 1976, Israel supplied the Maronite militias, including the Lebanese Forces, led by Bachir Gemayel, with arms, tanks, and military advisors. [cite book
last=Smith
first=Charles D.
title=Palestine and the Arab Israeli Conflict (paperback)
id=ISBN 0-312-20828-6
year=2001
page=354
] cite web
url=http://lexicorient.com/e.o/leb_civ_war.htm
publisher=Encylopaedia of the Orient
title=Lebanese Civil War
last=Kjeilen
first=Tore
accessdate=14 September
accessyear=2006
] The border between Israel and Lebanon was at this time was nicknamed the Good Fence.

Fearing loss of commercial access to the port of Beirut, in June 1976 Syria intervened in the civil war to support the Maronite dominated government, [cite web
url=http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3580.htm
title=Background Note: Syria
author=Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs
month=October
year=2005
publisher=U.S. Department of State
accessdate=15 September
accessyear=2006
] and by October had 40,000 troops stationed within Lebanon.

Operation Litani

On 11 March 1978, eleven PLO militants made a sea landing in Haifa, Israel, where they hijacked a buscite book
title=Lebanon: A Country Study
pages=214
author=Federal Research Division
publisher=Kessinger Publisher
month=June
year=2004
id=ISBN 1-4191-2943-0
] full of people, killing those on board in what is known as the Coastal Road massacre. By the end of the day, nine hijackers [cite book
title=Syria's Terrorist War on Lebanon and the Peace Process
last=Deeb
first=Marius
pages=39
publisher=Palgrave McMillian
id=ISBN 1-4039-6248-0
month=July
year=2003
] and 37 Israeli civilians were dead.

In response, on 14 March 1978, Israel launched Operation Litani occupying southern Lebanon, except for the city of Tyre, [cite book
title=Israel and the American National Interest: A Critical Examination
first=Cheryl A.
last=Rubenberg
pages=227
chapter=5
format=Paperback
publisher=University of Illinois Press
month=February
year=1989
id=0252060741
] with 25,000 troops. The objective was to push the PLO away from the border and bolster a Lebanese militia allied with Israel, the South Lebanese Army (SLA). However, the PLO concluded from the name of the operation that the invasion would halt at the Litani River and moved their forces north, leaving behind a token force of a few hundred men.cite book
title=Op. cit.
last=Fisk
first=Robert
pages=126
] As a result, the casualties were almost all civilians.

On 19 March, 1978, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 425, which called for Israel's immediate withdrawal and the establishment of a United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon. [cite web|url= http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/missions/unifil/background.html|title=Lebanon – UNIFIL Background|year=2005|publisher=United Nations|accessdate= 2006-07-14] When Israel forces withdrew later in 1978, they turned over its positions in Lebanon to the South Lebanon Army which would continue fighting as a proxy for Israel against the PLO until Israel drove the PLO out of Lebanon in 1982.

On 22 April 1979, Samir Kuntar and three other members of the Palestine Liberation Front, a sometimes faction of the PLO, landed in Nahariya,Israel from Tyre, Lebanon by boat. After killing a police officer who had discovered their presence, they took a father and his daughter hostage in an apartment building. After fleeing with the hostages from police back to the beach, a shootout killed one policeman and two of the invaders. Kuntar then executed the hostages before he and the remaining invader were captured.

In April 1981, the United States brokered a cease-fire in southern Lebanon between Israel, Syria and the PLO.

1982 Lebanon war, Israeli occupation (June 6, 1982–January 1985)

The 1982 Lebanon war began 6 June, [cite web
url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/819200.stm
title=Timeline: Lebanon
publisher=BBC News
date=2006-06-15
accessdate=15 September
accessyear=2006
] when Israel invaded again for the purpose of retaliation attacking the Palestine Liberation Organization. During the conflict, 14,000 Lebanese and Palestinians were killed, and the Israeli army sieged Beirut. Fighting also occurred between Israel and Syria. The United States, fearing a widening conflict and the prestige the siege was giving PLO leader Yasser Arafat, got all sides to agree to a cease-fire and terms for the PLO's withdrawal on 12 August. The predominantly muslim Multinational Force in Lebanon arrived to keep the peace and ensure PLO withdrawal. Arafat retreated from Beirut on 30 August 1982 and settled in Tunisia.

The National Assembly of Lebanon narrowly chose Bachir Gemayel as president-elect, but when he was assassinated on 14 September 1982, Israel reoccupied West Beirut and Maronite militias carried out the Sabra and Shatila massacre.

In 1983, the United States brokered the May 17 Agreement, a peace treaty between Israel and Lebanon in all but name. The agreement called for a staged Israeli withdrawal over the next eight to twelve weeks and the establishment of a "security zone" to be patrolled by the Lebanese army in southern Lebanon, [cite web
url=http://www.mideastweb.org/lebanonpeace.htm
title=Draft Agreement between Israel and Lebanon (Introduction by author)
last=Isseroff
first=Ami
publisher MidEastWeb
accessdate=14 September
accessyear=2006
] but was conditional on Syrian withdrawal as well. In August 1983, as Israel withdrew from the areas southeast of Beirut to the Awali River, [cite web
url=http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,955173-1,00.html
title=A House Divided: Hope grows dimmer for unifying Lebanon
date=1983-08-08
last=Kelly
first=James
accessdate=15 September
accessyear=2006
] Lebanese factions clashed for control of the freed territory.cite web
url=http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/35833.htm
title=Background Note: Lebanon
author=Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs
publisher=U.S. Department of State
month=August
year=2005
accessdate=15 September
accessyear=2006
]

In February 1984, the Lebanese Army collapsed, with many units forming their own militias. The National Assembly of Lebanon, under pressure from Syria and Muslim militias, cancelled the May 17 Agreement on 5 March 1984.

On 15 January 1985, Israel adopted a phased withdrawal plan, finally retreating to the Litani River to form the 4–12 kilometer (2.5–9 mi) deep Israeli Security Zone (map at [cite visual
url=http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/meast/9904/16/israel.lebanon.01/lebanon.isreal.cities.4.15.jpg
title=None (main article link name "military occupation zone")
producer=Magellan Geographixs
distributor=CNN
year=1992
] ) while using the native South Lebanese Army militia to help control it.

Foundation of Hezbollah through Israeli withdrawal (February 1985–May 2000)

On 16 February 1985, Shia Sheik Ibrahim al-Amin declared a manifesto [cite web
url=http://www.ict.org.il/Articles/Hiz_letter.htm
author=Hezbollah
title=An Open Letter to all the Opressed in Lebanon and the World
date=1985-02-16
publisher=Institute for Counter-Terrorism
accessdate=7 October
acccessyear=2006
] in Lebanon, announcing a resistance movement called Hezbollah, whose goals included combating the Israeli occupation. During the 1982-2000 South Lebanon conflict the Hezbollah militia waged a guerrilla campaign against Israeli forces occupying Southern Lebanon and their South Lebanon Army allies. "Throughout the period of 1985-92, there were very few limited exchanges between Israeli and Hezbollah or Amal forces in southern Lebanon", and "with the exception of 1988, during which twenty-one Israeli soldiers were killed, the number of Israeli fatalities per year over this period was in the single-digit figure". [Zeev Maoz "Defending the Holy Land" Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan 2006 > [http://www.press.umich.edu/titleDetailDesc.do?id=166167] ]

By the end of 1990 the Lebanese Civil War was effectively over. In March 1991, the National Assembly of Lebanon passed an amnesty law that pardoned all political crimes prior to its enactment, and in May 1991, the militias -- with the important exceptions of Hezbollah and the SLA -- were dissolved, and the Lebanese Armed Forces began to slowly rebuild themselves as Lebanon's only major non-sectarian institution.

In 1992, Hezbollah won ten out of 128 seats in the Lebanese National Assembly.

On 25 July 1993 Israel launched Operation Accountability, known in Lebanon as the Seven-Day War, in retaliation for attacks by both Hezbollah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command which had killed five soldiers in the security zone. [cite web
url=http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/lebanon-accountability.htm
title=Operation Accountability
publisher=GlobalSecurity.org
accessdate=18 October
accessyear=2006
] Thousands of buildings were bombed, resulting in 120 dead and 300,000 displaced civilians. Israeli forces also destroyed infrastructure such as power stations and bridges. Hezbollah retaliated with rocket attacks on Israeli villages, though inflicting significantly fewer casualties.

On 11 April 1996 Israel initiated Operation Grapes of Wrath, which Hezbollah calls the April War, subsequent to Hezbollah launching missiles into Israel, which was in turn a response to the killing of two Lebanese by an IDF missile, and the killing of Lebanese boy by a road-side bomb. Israel conducted massive air raids and extensive shelling in southern Lebanon. 118 Lebanese died in the Qana Massacre, when a UN compound was shelled by Israel. The conflict ended on 26 April 1996 with the Israeli-Lebanese Ceasefire Understanding [cite web
url=http://www.israel-mfa.gov.il/MFA/Foreign%20Relations/Israels%20Foreign%20Relations%20since%201947/1995-1996/Cease-fire%20understanding%20in%20Lebanon-%20and%20remarks%20b
title=Cease-fire understanding in Lebanon, and remarks by Prime Minister Peres and Secretary of State Christopher
date=1996-04-26
publisher=Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
accessdate=14 October
accessyear=2006
] in which both Hezbollah and Israel agreed to forgo attacks on civilians.

From 1985 through 2000, Israel continued to fund the South Lebanon Army. In January 2000, Hezbollah assassinated the man responsible for day to day SLA operations, Colonel Akel Hashem. [also spelled Aql Hashem] [cite web
url=http://www.jewishsf.com/content/2-0-/module/displaystory/story_id/12963/edition_id/250/format/html/displaystory.html
title=Hezbollah kills 3 Israeli soldiers, veteran SLA leader in Lebanon
last=Segal
first=Naomi
location=Jerusalem
date=2000-02-04
publisher=Jewish Telegraphic Agency / The Jewish News Weekly of Northern California
accessdate=15 September
accessyear=2006
] The Israeli Air Force, in apparent response, on 7 February struck Lebanon's civilian infrastructure, including power stations at Baalbek, Deir Nbouh and Jambour. Eighteenpeople were reported to have been injured. [cite paper
author = Immigration and Nationality Directorate
title = Country Assessment
publisher = United Kingdom Home Office
month = October
year = 2001
url=http://www.asylumlaw.org/docs/lebanon/ind01b_lebanon_ca.pdf
format=PDF
accessdate= 2006-09-14
]

Following its declaration of intent to implement UNSC Resolution 425 on 1 April 1998, and after the collapse of the South Lebanon Army in the face of a Hezbollah onslaught, Israel declared 24 May 2000 that they would withdraw to their side of the UN designated border, [cite web
url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/may/26/newsid_2496000/2496423.stm
title=Hezbollah celebrates Israeli retreat
publisher=BBC
date=2000-05-26
accessdate=12 September
accessyear=2006
] the Blue Line, 22 years after the resolution had been approved. The South Lebanon Army's equipment and positions largely fell into the hands of Hezbollah.Lebanon celebrates 25 May, Liberation Day, as a national holiday.

Border clashes, Assassinations (September 2000–July 2006)

* In September 2000, Hezbollah forged an electoral coalition with the Amal movement. The ticket swept all 23 parliamentary seats allotted for south Lebanon in that region's first election since 1972. [cite web
title=Hezbollah Defines Its Political Role
url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/aponline/20000906/aponline150227_000.htm
last=Karam
first=Zeina
publisher=Washington Post / Associated Press
date=2006-09-06
accessdate=3 October
accessyear=2006
]

* On October 7, 2000, three Israeli soldiers – Adi Avitan, Staff Sgt. Benyamin Avraham, and Staff Sgt. Omar Sawaidwere – were abducted by Hezbollah across the Israeli-Lebanese border. [cite web|url=http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFAArchive/2000_2009/2001/2/Israelis%20Held%20by%20the%20Hizbullah%20-%20Oct%202000-Jan%202004| title = Israelis Held by the Hizbullah - Oct 2000-Jan 2004| publisher="mfa.gov.il"] The soldiers were killed either during the attack or in its immediate aftermath. [cite web|url=http://edition.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/01/29/prisoner.exchange/| title = Israel, Hezbollah swap prisoners| publisher="CNN"]

* After Hezbollah killed an Israeli soldier in an attack on an armoured bulldozer that had crossed the border to clear bombs on 20 January 2004, Israel bombed two of the group's bases. [cite news
url= http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3414431.stm
title=Israeli jets hit Lebanon targets
publisher=BBC News
date=2004-01-20
accessdate= 2006-07-13
]

* On 29 January 2004, in a German-mediated prisoner swap, one time Amal security head Mustafa Dirani, who had been captured by Israeli commandos in 1994, and 22 other Lebanese detainees, about 400 Palestinians, and 12 Israeli-Arabs were released from Israeli prisons in exchange for Israeli businessman Elchanan Tenenbaum, who had been captured by Hezbollah in October 2000. The remains of 59 Lebanese militants and civilians and the bodies of the three Israeli soldiers captured on 7 October 2000 were also part of the exchange. Hezbollah requested that maps showing Israeli mines in South Lebanon be included in the deal. [cite news
title=Factfile: Hezbollah
publisher=Aljazeera
url= http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/27EDF072-1581-48CE-812D-A34D7C89A333.htm
date=2006-07-12
] [cite news
title=Israel, Hezbollah swap prisoners
url= http://edition.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/01/29/prisoner.exchange/ |publisher=CNN
date=2004-01-29
]

In May 2004, Hezbollah militiamen killed an Israeli soldier along the border within the Israeli held Shebaa Farms.

Between July and August 2004 there was a period of more intense border conflict. Hezbollah said the clash began when Israeli forces shelled its positions, while Israel said that Hezbollah had started the fighting with a sniper attack on a border outpost.

On 2 September 2004 Resolution 1559 was approved by the United Nations Security council, calling for the disbanding of all Lebanese militia. An armed Hezbollah was seen by the Israeli government as a contravention of the resolution. [cite web
url = http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;jsessionid=TIZOXEHKR5IEHQFIQMGSFGGAVCBQWIV0?xml=/news/2006/08/17/wleb17.xml
title = Lebanese troops will not disarm Hizbollah
accessdate = 6 September
accessyear = 2006
last = Butcher
first = Tim
coauthors = David Blair
date= 2006-08-17
publisher = The Daily Telegraph
] The Lebanese government differed from this interpretation. [cite news|title=Security Council Notes Significant Progress in Lebanon…|publisher=United Nations Security Council |date= 2006-01-23 |url=http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2006/sc8616.doc.htm] [cite news|title=Hezbollah rejects call to disarm|date=2005-04-27|publisher=ABC (AU)|url=http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2005/s1354922.htm]

Syrian troops withdrew from Lebanon in April 2005. [cite web
url=http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/07/14/israel.lebanon.timeline/
title=Timeline: Decades of conflict in Lebanon, Israel
publisher=CNN
date=2006-07-14
accessdate=16 September
accessyear=2006
]

On 26 May, 2006, a car bomb killed Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Mahmoud Majzoub and his brother in Sidon. Prime Minister of Lebanon Fuad Saniora called Israel the prime suspect, but Israel denied involvement. [cite web
publisher=Boston Globe
last=Mroue
first=Bassem
title=Islamic Jihad leader killed in Lebanon
url=http://www.boston.com/news/world/middleeast/articles/2006/05/26/islamic_jihad_figure_killed_in_lebanon/
date=2006-05-26
accessdate=14 August
accessyear=2006
] On 28 May, 2006, rockets were fired from Lebanon into Israel. Hours later, Israel responded by bombing suspected militant rocket launch sites and exchanging fire across the border. The United Nations negotiated a ceasefire the same day. [cite web
publisher=World News Daily
last=Klein
first=Aaron
title=Syria, Iran directed rocket barrage against Israel
url=http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=50416
date=2006-05-29
accessdate=14 August
accessyear=2006
]

On 10 June 2006 the Lebanese army arrested members of an alleged Israeli spy ring, including Mahmoud Rafeh, his wife, and two children.cite web
last=Blanford
first=Nicholas
title=Lebanon exposes deadly Israeli spy ring
url=http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,251-2227831,00.html
publisher=The Times UK
date=2006-06-15
accessdate=14 August
accessyear=2006
] Police discovered bomb-making materials, code machines and other espionage equipment in his home. Rafeh reportedly confessed to the Majzoub killings and to working for Mossad, [cite web
url=http://yalibnan.com/site/archives/2006/06/lebanon_arrests.php
title=Lebanon arrests key suspect in Islamic Jihad assassination
date=2006-06-11
publisher=Ya Libnan
accessdate=18 October
accessyear=2006
] and admitted that his cell had assassinated two Hezbollah leaders in 1999 and 2003 and the son of Ahmed Jibril, leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, in 2002. [cite web
title=Murr: Israeli aircraft detonated the car bomb in Sidon
url=http://yalibnan.com/site/archives/2006/06/murr_israeli_ai.php
publisher=Ya Libnan
date=2006-06-16
accessdate=18 October
accessyear=2006
] Former Lebanese Minister Walid Jumblatt, an outspoken critic of Hezbollah, suspected that the exposure of the spy ring was a Hezbollah fabrication.

2006 Lebanon War

On 12 July 2006, in an incident known as Zar'it-Shtula incident, the Hezbollah initiated diversionary rocket attacks on Israeli military positions near the coast and near the Israeli border village of Zar'it,cite web|url=http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWB.NSF/db900SID/EGUA-6RZPCR?OpenDocument|title=Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (S/2006/560)|accessdate=2006-09-26|date=2006-07-21|publisher=United Nations Security Council] while another Hezbollah group crossed from Lebanon into Israel and ambushed two Israeli Army vehicles, killing three Israeli soldiers and seizing two.cite web
url=http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=737825
title=Hezbollah kills 8 soldiers, kidnaps two in offensive on northern border
accessdate=20 October
accessyear=2006
last=Harel
first=Amos
date=2006-07-13
publisher=Haaretz
] cite web
url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/12/AR2006071200262_pf.html
title=Hezbollah Raid Opens 2nd Front for Israel
date=2006-07-13
accessdate=20 October
accessyear=2006
publisher=The Washington Post
]

Hezbollah promptly demanded the release of Lebanese prisoners held by Israel, including Samir Kuntar and an alleged surviving perpetrator of the Coastal Road massacre, in exchange for the release of the captured soldiers.cite web
url=http://www.upc.org.uk/hasann12jul06.html
title=Press Conference with Hasan Nasrallah
accessdate=20 October
accessyear-2006
date=2006-07-26
publisher=UPC
]

Heavy fire between the sides was exchanged across the length of the Blue Line, with Hezbollah targeting IDF positions near Israeli towns.

Thus began the 2006 Lebanon War. Israel responded with massive airstrikes and artillery fire on targets throughout Lebanon, an air and naval blockade, and a ground invasion of southern Lebanon. In Lebanon the conflict killed over 1,500 people, mostly civilians, severely damaged infrastructure, displaced about one million people. Israel suffered nearly 4,000 rockets being launched into northern Israel causing the death of 42 civilians and the displacement half a million Israelis. [cite news | title= Let's face it: Israel's refugees (in Hebrew) | date=2006-08-10| publisher=Walla News | url=http://finance.walla.co.il/?w=/3402/955907] Normal life across much of Lebanon and northern Israel was disrupted. These are besides the deaths in combat.

A United Nations-brokered ceasefire went into effect on 14 August 2006. The blockade was lifted on 8 September. [cite web
url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5330766.stm
publisher=BBC News
first=Ian
last=Pannell
date=2006-09-09
title=Lebanon breathes after the blockade
accessdate=9 September
accessyear=2006
]

Post-2006 war activity

Since the 2006 Lebanon War, there have been only isolated incidents.

On 7 February 2007, there was an exchange of gunfire near Avivim between the Lebanese Armed Forces and the Israel Defence Forces, culminating in the firing of two IDF tank shells over the border. There were no injuries on either side. [cite web
url=http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3362384,00.html
title=IDF, Lebanese army exchange fire on northern border
first=Hanan
last=Greenberg
publisher=ynet
date=2007-02-07
|accessdate=2007-04-09
] The UN Secretary-General stated it was first armed incident since the end of the last war and that the first fire was by the Lebanese army without any provocation since the IDF was operating inside Israeli territory. [cite web
url=http://www.nysun.com/article/48372
title=U.N.'s Ban Veers From Standard Line on Israel
first=Benny
last=Avni
date=2007-02-09
publisher=New York Sun
accessdate=2007-04-09
]

On 17 June 2007, an unknown militant group fired two rockets from Lebanon into northern Israel, an action which the UN condemned as a serious violation of the ceasefire. Hezbollah denied involvement in the incident, and Israel emphasized that it would restrain itself from responding by force. Saniora pledged that "The state ... will spare no effort in uncovering those who stand behind this incident."cite web | url = http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/06/18/africa/ME-GEN-Israel-Lebanon.php | title = Militants fire 2 rockets from Lebanon at Israel's north, first since last year's war | source = International Herald Tribune | date = June 17, 2007 | accessdate = 2007-06-17]

As of December 2007, Hezbollah had not disarmed, and continued to recruit armed fighters, with a focus on influencing anti-Government protests in Lebanon.

References


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