The PLO in Lebanon
In March 1978, in retaliation for another Palestinian raid in Israel in which dozens of civilians were killed, Israeli troops occupied the south of Lebanon, where a Civil War had raged between a ‘Christian Right’ and a ‘Muslim Left’ since 1975. The UN Security Council, ‘gravely concerned at the deterioration of the situation in the Middle East’, called upon Israel to withdraw its forces from Lebanon and created the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). 4,000 UNIFIL soldiers, two months later increased to 6,000, were stationed in the south of Lebanon.
Paradoxically, Israel’s role in the conflict only increased in the following years. To begin with, it withdrew its forces from Lebanon, but retained control of an area in the south, manned by its ally, the Christian militia of Sad Haddad, called the South Lebanon Army (SLA).
In 1981, Israel bombed Beirut. A year later, in June 1982, in ‘retaliation’ for the murder of the Israeli ambassador in London, committed by the dissident Palestinian group of Abu Nidal (not by a PLO member organization), Israel started the operation ‘Peace for Galilee’ and invaded the country again. The Israeli troops now went as far as Beirut, laid siege to the Lebanese capital, crushed the Palestinian forces, and realized the departure of the PLO and most of its guerrilla fighters, who left for Tunis under international guarantees for their own safety and that of their dependents. Nevertheless, under the eye of the Israeli army, Christian militias entered the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila on the outskirts of Beirut and massacred hundreds of Palestinian civilians. The number of victims is estimated at about 2,000. The massacre brought about an international outcry. The Israeli Defence Minister at that time, the later Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, was forced to resign. Israel eventually withdrew its forces from Lebanon in June 1985, except for an 18 kilometres wide buffer zone along Lebanon’s southern border.
© Copyright Notice
Click on link to view the associated photo/image:
We would like to ask you something …
Fanack is an independent media organisation, not funded by any state or any interest group, that distributes in the Middle East and the wider world unbiased analysis and background information, based on facts, about the Middle East and North Africa.
The website grew rapidly in breadth and depth and today forms a rich and valuable source of information on 21 countries, from Morocco to Oman and from Iran to Yemen, both in Arabic and English. We currently reach six million readers annually and growing fast.
In order to guarantee the impartiality of information on the Chronicle, articles are published without by-lines. This also allows correspondents to write more freely about sensitive or controversial issues in their country. All articles are fact-checked before publication to ensure that content is accurate, current and unbiased.