Last updated on: 6/25/2008 11:49:00 AM PST

When and How Did Israel Withdraw to the Security Zone behind the UN Forces in Lebanon?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con) Map, adapted from the UNIFIL and Country Studies

Avi Shlaim, PhD, Professor of International Relations at St. Antony's College, Oxford, in his 2001 book The Iron Wall wrote the following:

"On 17 May 1983 Israel and Lebanon signed an agreement that formally terminated the state of war and recognized the international border between them as inviolable. The parties undertook to prevent the use of one country's territory for terrorist activity against the other country. Israel was to withdraw its forces to a distance of forty to forty-five kilometers from the international border to an area defined as a 'security zone.' The area north of the security zone was to be under the control of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon [UNIFIL]...There was one inherent flaw in the agreement: it was conditional on Syria's withdrawing its forces from Lebanon, and Syria did not oblige...

The withdrawal from Lebanon was carried out in stages between February and June [1985]. The bulk of the troops returned to their bases inside Israel. Small forces remained in the security zone and coordinated their activities with the SLA [South Lebanon Army]."

2001 - Avi Shlaim, PhD 

Martin Gilbert, Honorary Fellow of Merton College at Oxford, in his 1998 book Israel, wrote:

"Direct talks between Israel and Lebanon began on December 28 [1982]. Within five months, on 17 May 1983, an agreement was signed. All foreign forces -- Israeli and Syrian -- would withdraw from Lebanon. But Syria refused to accept this, and Israeli troops remained in place throughout the summer. It was not until September 3 that Israel agreed to withdraw south of the Awali River; but she insisted on retaining control of Jebel Barouk, the strategic height only 15 miles from Beirut...

Under [Israeli Minister of Defense] Rabin's guidance [1985], the military withdrawal from Lebanon, a matter of urgency, was begun. The first phase was to strengthen the Christian Lebanese militia in southern Lebanon, the South Lebanese Army (SLA). This was to be armed and supported militarily by Israel.

The second phase was to pull back all Israeli troops to a Security Zone along Israel's northern border, a strip of Lebanese territory 3 to 4 miles deep. The Israeli withdrawal began in January 1985. It was completed within six months."

1998 - Martin Gilbert