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Israeli occupation of south

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Israeli occupation of south

On May 14, 1948 British troops that were occupying portions of Palestine withdrew from the territory. As Britain withdrew from Palestine, they handed the land over to the Zionists to create Israel. Upon creation of the State of Israel, thousands of Palestinians were driven from their homes to make room for the Jews who were immigrating into the State. Many of the Palestinians fled to Lebanon to make new homes and start a new life.

Soon after the formation of Israel, war broke out between the Palestinians and the Israeli's. The war lasted about 8 months and an armistice agreement was negotiated, between January and July of 1949. For the next twenty years tension would continue to rise between the two nations. Palestinians and Israeli's committed numerous terrorist acts against each other until 1968. In 1968, Israel made its first significant incursion into Lebanon. On April 21, 1968 Israel blew up 13 airplanes at Beirut airport (Barrett). The Israeli's justification for the Beirut airport bombing was repayment for the Lebanese trained Palestinian civilians who had made an attack in Athens. For the next ten years there were numerous small terrorist acts from both countries.

Then in March 1978, Israel launched the first of four major attacks on southern Lebanon. The attacks have set up an Israeli zone of occupation, a 'security zone', in southern Lebanon that is still present today. The Israeli occupation and the attack on southern Lebanon has never been legitimately justified.

The first major Israeli incursion into south Lebanon came on March 14, 1978. The military action was named 'Operation Litany'. The Israeli army attacked PLO positions that were in south Lebanon. As the Israeli's moved through southern Lebanon they occupied a 6-mile strip of land. The Israeli's killed 1500 people who were Lebanese and Palestinian civilians. The Israeli's attempted to justify the killing of 1500 civilians and the occupation of Lebanon because PLO backed guerillas had killed 30 bus riders in a raid near Tel Aviv. The world and the UN strongly objected to this harsh move by the Israeli's (Reuters, 'Chronology'').

The UN then put resolution 425 into effect. The resolution called for ' strict respect for the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and political independence of Lebanon' and also 'called upon Israel immediately to cease its military action against Lebanese territorial integrity and withdraw forthwith its forces from all Lebanese territory.' The Israeli's refused to leave so the UN created UNIFIL. UNIFIL stands for 'United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon.' It is a 5000 person peacekeeping force that was set up to push the Israeli army back to the border (Reuters, 'Intervention''). Israel pulled back some of its military forces due to the world condemnation of the act and the UN's objection to the invasion. However, the Israeli's kept some of their troops posted in southern Lebanon. Israel also brought in Muslim leftists and the Lebanese Christian militia, a Lebanese group opposed to the PLO. UNIFIL slowly pushed the Israeli's back but never successfully got them to withdraw all the way back to the Israeli-Lebanese border.

In 1981, Israeli forces were still occupying a portion of southern Lebanon. The Lebanese people and the PLO were infuriated that this direct violation of Lebanon's freedom had lasted so long and finally took action. PLO guerrillas and Lebanese trained civilians fired Katyusha rockets into the occupied portion of southern Lebanon and into northern Israel. The Israeli's retaliated by launching air raids on Beirut that killed a large number of Lebanese and Palestinian civilians. It seemed that the conflict was going to erupt into a full scale war but the UN, and countries such as the US, France, and Britain, stepped up to apply diplomatic intervention.

Following the diplomatic resolution there was a lull in the back and forth fighting. Then, in July of 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon stating that they were going to oust the PLO from Lebanon. The Israeli's said that the PLO had seriously wounded one of their ambassadors in London and felt that they could no longer feel secure with the PLO in power in Lebanon.

The invasion of Lebanon in 1982 was named 'Peace for Galilee' and marked the second major military incursion into Lebanon. The invasion was supposed to involve 25 miles of southern Lebanon to eradicate the PLO. Israeli Prime Minister of Defense Aril Sharon assured that the invasion would go no deeper into Lebanon. However, the invasion moved an additional 25 miles further into Lebanon and circled Beirut. The Israeli army killed more than 15,700 Lebanese and Palestinian civilians during their invasion. Besides the horrific death toll another 30,000 people were wounded. Then between the dates of September 16th and 18th the Israeli army, who surrounded the refugee camps of Sabra and Chatila, allowed Lebanese Christian militiamen to enter the camps and slaughter 3000 Palestinians and 167 Lebanese refugees (Chomsky).

Over the next 3 years Israel would maintain its presence deep within Lebanon. During this time there was political outrage and condemnation of the atrocities the Israeli army was committing in Lebanon. Besides the political objection to the occupation, Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas began attacking the Israeli army on a regular basis. Finally in 1985, under newly appointed Prime Minister Shimon Peres, Israeli forces were withdrawn to a 9-mile so called 'security zone.' The 'security zone' was kept in place to stop the border attacks that Hezbollah guerrillas were making on Israel. The Lebanese despised the Israeli occupation and Hezbollah continued attacking the Israeli army in the security zone and in northern Israel. Hezbollah was ready to fight to the death against the Israel occupation and vowed to drive the Israeli's from southern Lebanon.

Until 1992 there was localized feuding between the Israeli army and Hezbollah but there were no large-scale confrontations. That would all change in February of 1992. Israeli helicopter gunships fired at the car of Hezbollah leader Sheik Abbas Musawi. The Israeli helicopter blew up the car and killed Musawi, his wife, and son who were also in the car. Hezbollah retaliated by rocketing the Israeli's. The Israeli army then proceeded to take over two more villages outside the security zone. The UN, IRAN and the US negotiated a truce between the two groups for a short period until Hezbollah fired on the Israeli army in southern Lebanon killing 7 soldiers in 1993.

The attack on the Israeli army and death of 7 soldiers caused the Israeli's to launch its 3rd military action on Lebanon. Israel launched 'Operation Accountability' on July 25, 1993 (Barrett). The military action lasted 7 days. During this period, 123 Lebanese civilians were killed and only 11 Hezbollah guerrillas were killed (Barrett). Additionally 500 civilians were wounded and half a million were displaced as refugees during the bombing and shelling of Lebanon. After the Israeli's announced a cease-fire, Hezbollah stated that for every Lebanese civilian killed they would retaliate by rocketing northern Israel (Chomsky). Over the next three years Hezbollah kept its promise of retaliation and retribution. Every time a Lebanese or Palestinian civilian was killed, Hezbollah rocketed northern Israel and the Israeli army.

On April 11, 1996 the most recent and violent military action since,

'Operation Litany' was initiated by the Israeli army. The Israeli's launched 'Operation Grapes of Wrath' as the 4th major incursion and bombing of Lebanon. The operation lasted 16 days (Amnesty). The Israeli's blasted southern Lebanon and Beirut killing about 200 civilians and wounding 500 more (Amnesty). On April 13th an Israeli helicopter fired on an ambulance carrying refugees. The ambulance was destroyed, killing 2 women and 4 girls (Amnesty). The Israeli government justified the killing by saying that a Hezbollah guerrilla was travelling with them. On the 14th of April Israel ordered those Lebanese civilians residing in the city of Tyre to leave or be attacked by an air raid and artillery bombardment. During the 16-day mission 102 refugees, mostly women and children seeking shelter at the UN headquarters in Qana, a southern Lebanese town, were shelled and killed. By the time a cease-fire ...

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Keywords: israeli occupation of southern lebanon, when did the israeli occupation begin

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