Wednesday, March 23, 2005


THE LEBANON WAR. Israeli perspective on the war against Lebanon and resulting occupation, from the Anti-Defamation League.

From the site:

In Lebanon, the fragile state of no-war, no-peace, in place since 1973, began to break down as the PLO strengthened its mini-state in Lebanon, established PLO military training centers, and escalated artillery and cross-border attacks on civilians in northern Israel. Israelis were forced to spend long periods of time in bomb shelters.

The immediate trigger for Israel's operation into Lebanon was the attempted assassination of the Israeli ambassador in London on June 3, 1982. The next day, Israeli jets attacked PLO targets in Lebanon and the PLO responded with rocket and artillery barrages into northern Israel. The Israeli cabinet met to approve sending ground troops into Lebanon. Defense minister Ariel Sharon briefed the cabinet on "Operation Peace for Galilee" ­ a plan for a limited incursion of twenty-five miles into Lebanon to wipe out PLO positions in southern Lebanon and thus safeguard Israel's population in northern Israel. The cabinet, including the opposition Labor Party, supported the plan for a limited operation.

Mr. Sharon and Chief of Staff Rafael Eitan, however, had a wider-reaching grand plan beyond that of destroying the PLO's military power in southern Lebanon and the creation of a security zone there. They envisioned completely eradicating the PLO's military, political and economic hold over Lebanon, evicting Syrian forces from Lebanon, and facilitating the creation of a Christian-dominated Lebanon which would sign a peace treaty with Israel. The Lebanese presidential election was scheduled for August 23, 1982. Sharon discussed the Israeli plan with Christian Phalangist leader Bashir Gemayel, who apparently supported it and agreed to help rout the PLO from Beirut. Counting on Phalangist assistance, Sharon and Eitan ordered Israeli troops to advance as far as Beirut.

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