Ian J. Bickerton, PhD, Associate Professor of Middle Eastern and United States History at the University of New South Wales and Carla L. Klausner, PhD, Professor of Modern Middle East, Medieval Europe and Judaic Studies at the
University of Missouri-Kansas City, wrote in their 2002 fourth edition of A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, that:
"[Israeli Prime Minister] Barak's election promise [in 1999] to leave [the security zone in southern] Lebanon within a year had been one of the main reasons for his victory, and although Israel would have preferred to pull out of Lebanon after reaching a peace deal with Syria [who had been in control over all of northern and central Lebanon, including all of Beirut and as far south as Sidon since 1990], there was growing consensus on both sides of the political divide for a unilateral withdrawal. Even Ariel Sharon, one of the architects of Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982 said that the withdrawal should start immediately.
On March 5, 2000, the Israeli cabinet pledged a withdrawal from Lebanon by July. The Israeli decision surprised and alarmed the Arab states, depriving Syria of its main pressure point against Israel...
Before dawn on Wednesday, May 24 , six weeks before they planned to shut down the buffer zone, Israeli troops abandoned Beaufort Castle and their few remaining outposts in Lebanon, bringing home their last troops without suffering any casualties."
Map created using information from the United Nations
Benny Morris, PhD, Professor of History at Ben-Gurion University, in his 2001 book Righteous Victims, wrote:
"In spring 1999, during his campaign for the premiership, Barak had promised that Israel would withdraw its troops from the Security Zone back to the international frontier 'within a year.' After taking office, he began to speak of 'July 2000' as the deadline. He hoped that the withdrawal would be a part of a general peace agreement with Syria and Lebanon, which would include a Syrian guarantee of the security of northern Israel and, perhaps, a deployment of Syrian troops in South Lebanon. But the deadlock in the Israeli-Syrian peace talks had gradually persuaded Barak that the withdrawal from the Zone would most probably be unilateral and without agreement either with Syria or Lebanon. The IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] General Staff opposed a withdrawal without an agreement; but on March 5, 2000, the Israeli cabinet unanimously endorsed a withdrawal by July, 'with or without an agreement,' back to the international frontier...
On the night of May 23-24, in a well-orchestrated operation, backed by columns of heavy Merkava tanks and helicopter gunships, the last Israeli troops pulled out under sporadic Hizbullah fire."
The UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) website contained the following account of the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Southern Lebanon (accessed Dec. 18, 2003):
17 April 2000, the Secretary-General received formal notification from
the Government of Israel that it would withdraw its forces from Lebanon
by July 2000 'in full accordance with Security Council resolutions 425
(1978) and 426 (1978)'. He [Kofi Annan] was further informed that in so
doing the Government of Israel intended 'to cooperate fully with the
United Nations'. The Secretary-General informed the Security Council of
this notification on the same day, stating that he had initiated
preparations to enable the United Nations to carry out its
responsibilities under those resolutions. On 20 April , the
Council endorsed the Secretary-General's decision to initiate those
a first step, the Secretary-General sent his Special Envoy, Terje
Roed-Larsen (Norway), together with the Force Commander of UNIFIL
[United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon] and a team of experts, to
meet with the Governments of Israel and Lebanon and concerned Member
States in the region, including Egypt, Jordan and the Syrian Arab
Republic. The delegation also met with the PLO [Palestine Liberation
Organization] and the League of Arab States. During the mission, United
Nations cartographic, legal and military experts examined the technical
issues that would need to be addressed in the context of the
implementation of resolution 425 (1978). Parallel to that mission,
which took place between 26 April and 9 May 2000, the Secretary-General
consulted with interested Member States, including those contributing
troops to UNIFIL.
on 16 May, much sooner than anticipated, IDF/DFF [Israeli Defense
Forces / Lebanese de facto Forces] began to vacate its positions, amid
exchange of fire. Beginning on 21 May , large crowds of Lebanese,
accompanied by armed elements, entered villages in the
Israeli-controlled area, and IDF/DFF vacated their position in great
haste. At the same time, a large number of the de facto forces,
together with their families, crossed into Israel. Others surrendered
to the Lebanese authorities. Within a few days, those forces had
completely disbanded. On 25 May , the Government of Israel
notified the Secretary-General that Israel had redeployed its forces in
compliance with Security Council resolutions 425 (1978) and 426 (1978).
requirements and tasks related to the implementation of those
resolutions in the new circumstances were outlined in the
Secretary-General's report of 22 May and endorsed by the Security
Council on 23 May.
24 May to 7 June, the Special Envoy travelled to Israel, Lebanon and
the Syrian Arab Republic to follow up on the implementation of the
Secretary-General's 22 May report. The United Nations cartographer and
his team, assisted by UNIFIL, worked on the ground to identify a line
to be adopted for the practical purposes of confirming the Israeli
withdrawal. While this was not a formal border demarcation, the aim was
to identify a line on the ground conforming to the internationally
recognized boundaries of Lebanon, based on the best available
cartographic and other documentary evidence.
work was completed on 7 June. A map showing the withdrawal line was
formally transmitted by the Force Commander of UNIFIL to his Lebanese
and Israeli counterparts. Notwithstanding their reservations about the
line, the Governments of Israel and Lebanon confirmed that identifying
this line was solely the responsibility of the United Nations and that
they would respect the line as identified. On 8 June , UNIFIL
teams commenced the work of verifying the Israeli withdrawal behind the
16 June , the Secretary-General reported to the Security Council
that Israel had withdrawn its forces from Lebanon in accordance with
resolution 425 (1978) and met the requirements defined in his report of
22 May 2000 -- namely, Israel had completed the withdrawal in
conformity with the line identified by the United Nations."