1978 South Lebanon conflict1978 South Lebanon conflict Part of the Israel-Lebanon conflict
Israeli tanks in Southern Lebanon, 1978 Date March 14–March 21, 1978Location Southern LebanonResult PLOwithdrawal from Southern Lebanon
South Lebanon Army PLO Strength 25,000 10,000 Casualties and losses 20 KIA 200-300 KIA v • d • eIsraeli-Lebanese conflict1948 Arab-Israeli War – 1968 Israeli raid on Lebanon – 1973 Israeli raid on Lebanon – 1978 South Lebanon conflict – 1982 Lebanon War – 1982–2000 South Lebanon conflict – 2006 Lebanon War
The 1978 South Lebanon conflict (code-named Operation Litani by Israel) was an invasion of Lebanon up to the Litani River carried out by the Israel Defense Forces in 1978. It was a military success, as PLO forces were pushed north of the river. However, objections from the Lebanese government led to the creation of the UNIFIL peacekeeping force and a partial Israeli withdrawal.
- 1 Background
- 2 Course of fighting
- 3 Outcome of the war
- 4 Resolution 425
- 5 Notes
- 6 Bibliography
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
- Main article: Israel-Lebanon conflict
Though it took the form of an Israeli military incursion into Southern Lebanon, Operation Litani was grounded in the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict. From 1968 on, the PLO, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and other Palestinian groups established a quasi-state in southern Lebanon, using it as a base for raids on northern Israel. This was exacerbated by an influx of 3,000 PLO militants fleeing a defeat in the Jordanian civil war and regrouping in southern Lebanon. Israel responded with damaging attacks against PLO bases. Violence escalated, eventually culminating in the 1982 Lebanon War and the ejection of the PLO from the country.
On 11 March 1978, 11 Fatah members led by the 18-year old female Dalal Mughrabi travelled from Lebanon and killed an American tourist on the beach. They then hijacked a bus on the coastal road near Haifa, and en route to Tel Aviv commandeered a second bus. After a lengthy chase and shootout, 37 Israelis were killed and 76 wounded . This, the Coastal Road Massacre, was the proximate cause of the Israeli invasion three days later. (Cobban, p.94, Shlaim p.369) The PLO-Israeli conflict increased political tensions between Maronite Christians and the Muslims and Druze, adding to the factors behind the 1975–1990 Lebanese Civil War.This article or section relies largely or entirely upon a single source.
Please help improve this articleby introducing appropriate citationsof additional sources.
Course of fighting
On March 14, 1978, Israel launched Operation Litani, occupying the area south of the Litani River, excepting Tyre, with over 25,000 soldiers. Its stated goals were to push Palestinian militant groups, particularly the PLO, away from the border with Israel, and to bolster Israel's ally at the time, the South Lebanon Army. During the 7-day offensive, the Israeli Defence Forces first captured a belt of land approximately 10 kilometres deep, but later expanded north to the Litani river. The Lebanese government estimated 285,000 refugees were created (Fisk, p. 130). It is estimated that 1,100-2,000 Lebanese were killed, almost all civilians (Fisk, p. 124). Israeli soldiers were court-martialled after several Lebanese peasants were strangled and prisoners were executed (Fisk, 131). 20 Israelis were killed. The PLO retreated north of the Litani River, continuing to fire at the Israelis.
Outcome of the war
In response to the invasion, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 425 and Resolution 426 calling for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanon. The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was created to enforce this mandate, and restore peace and sovereignty to Lebanon. UNIFIL forces arrived in Lebanon on 23 March 1978, setting up headquarters in Naqoura.
Israeli forces withdrew later in 1978, turning over positions inside Lebanon to their ally, the South Lebanon Army (SLA) militia under the leadership of Maj. Saad Haddad. On 19 April 1978, the SLA shelled UNIFIL headquarters, killing 8 UN soldiers. (Fisk, 138). In April 1980, two Irish UN soldiers were kidnapped and murdered by Christian gunmen in SLA territory and another Irish soldier was shot by Haddad's men. The Israeli press at the time, particularly the Jerusalem Post, accused the Irish of pro-PLO bias. (Fisk, 152-154). However, Palestinian factions also attacked UNIFIL, kidnapping an Irish UNIFIL soldier in 1981 and continuing to occupy areas in southern Lebanon.
Lebanon has not extended control over south Lebanon, though it was called on to do so by UN Resolution 1391 of 2002 and urged by UN Resolution 1496. Israel has lodged multiple complaints regarding Lebanon's conduct.
Lebanon's claim that Israel has not fully withdrawn (see Shebaa Farms) was explicitly rejected by the UN's Secretary-General's report which led to UN Security Council Resolution 1583. The Syrian occupation of Lebanon led to UN Security Council Resolution 1559 demanding the remaining 14,000 (of 50,000 originally) Syrian troop withdrawal and the dismantling of Hezbollah and Palestinian militias. On April 26, 2005, after 29 years of Syrian military presence in Lebanon, the last of the Syrian troops withdrew in accordance with the resolution.
- ^ Mor, Ben D.; Zeev Moaz (2002). "7", Bound by Struggle: The Strategic Evolution of Enduring International Rivalries. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 192. ISBN 0-472-11274-0.
- ^ Private Kevin Joyce was kidnapped and is presumed dead. See Guardian article here
- Bregman, Ahron (2002). Israel's Wars: A History Since 1947. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-28716-2.
- Cobban, Helena (1984). The Palestinian Liberation Organization: People, Power and Politics. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-27216-5.
- Fisk, Robert (2002). Pity the Nation: The Abduction of Lebanon. Nation Books. ISBN 1-56025-442-4.
- Shlaim, Avi (2001). The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-32112-6.
- Lebanese civil war 1978 Full of Pictures and Information
- Terrorist attacks in Israel, GlobalSecurity
- Conflict in Lebanon, GlobalSecurity
- www.lebanon-israel.info An ongoing discussion on the Lebanon-Israel conflict
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