Last updated on: 5/21/2008 3:19:00 PM PST

Why Did Israel Occupy South Lebanon in 1982?



General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
The following background to the 1982 Israeli occupation of Southern Lebanon is from the UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) 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. 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 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... 

In June 1982, after intense exchange of fire in southern Lebanon and across the Israel-Lebanon border, Israel invaded Lebanon again, reaching and surrounding Beirut. For three years, UNIFIL remained behind the Israeli lines, with its role limited to providing protection and humanitarian assistance to the local population to the extent possible. In 1985, Israel carried out a partial withdrawal, but it retained control of an area in southern Lebanon manned by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and by Lebanese de facto forces (DFF), the so-called 'South Lebanon Army' (SLA). Hostilities continued between Israeli and auxiliary forces on the one hand, and Lebanese groups who proclaimed their resistance against the Israeli occupation on the other."


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




Map created using information from the CIA World Factbook


The Country Studies/Area Handbook on Israel, published in 1988 by the United States Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress, containd 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)... 

Israel's incursion into Lebanon, called 'Operation Peace for Galilee,' was launched in early June 1982. After an attack on Israel's ambassador in London carried out by the Abu Nidal group but blamed on the PLO, Israeli troops marched into southern Lebanon. On the afternoon of June 4 the Israeli air force bombed a sports stadium in Beirut, said to be used for ammunition storage by the PLO. The PLO responded by shelling Israeli towns in Galilee. On June 5, the government of Israel formally accused the PLO of breaking the cease-fire. At 11 A.M. on June 6, Israeli ground forces crossed the border into Lebanon. The stated goals of the operation were to free northern Israel from PLO rocket attacks by creating a forty-kilometer-wide security zone in southern Lebanon and by signing a peace treaty with Lebanon."


1988 - Country Studies / Area Handbooks Program