Last updated on: 6/25/2008 11:46:00 AM PST

What Was the 1978 Israeli Invasion of Southern Lebanon?



General Reference (not clearly pro or con)


Map created using information from the CIA World Factbook

- Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) - The World Factbook 

UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon), posted the following background to the 1982 Israeli occupation of Southern Lebanon on its website (accessed Dec. 18, 2003):

"In the early 1970s, tension along the Israel-Lebanon border increased, especially after the relocation of Palestinian armed elements from Jordan to Lebanon [see Black September]. Palestinian commando operations against Israel and Israeli reprisals against Palestinian bases in Lebanon intensified. On 11 March 1978, a commando attack in Israel resulted in many dead and wounded among the Israeli population; the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) claimed responsibility for that raid. In response, Israeli forces invaded Lebanon on the night of 14/15 March [1978], and in a few days occupied the entire southern part of the country except for the city of Tyre and its surrounding area.

On 15 March 1978, the Lebanese Government submitted a strong protest to the [U.N.] Security Council against the Israeli invasion, stating that it had no connection with the Palestinian commando operation. On 19 March [1978], the Council adopted resolutions 425 (1978) and 426 (1978), in which it called upon Israel immediately to cease its military action and withdraw its forces from all Lebanese territory. It also decided on the immediate establishment of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). The first UNIFIL troops arrived in the area on 23 March 1978."

Dec. 18, 2003 - United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) 

The 1987 Country Studies/Area Handbook on Israel, published by the United States Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress, contained the following:

"The PLO, following its expulsion from Jordan in September 1970, set up its major base of operations in southern Lebanon from which it attacked northern Israel. The number and size of PLO operations in the south accelerated throughout the late 1970s as central authority deteriorated and Lebanon became a battleground of warring militias. In March 1978, following a fedayeen attack, originating in Lebanon, on the Tel Aviv-Haifa road that killed thirty-seven people, Israel launched 'Operation Litani,' a massive military offensive that resulted in Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon up to the Litani River. By June Prime Minister Begin, under intense American pressure, withdrew Israeli forces, which were replaced by a UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL)..."

1987 - Country Studies / Area Handbooks Program