The 1982 Lebanon War (called Operation Peace for Galilee by Israel) broke out in June 1982, when Israeli forces invaded Lebanon, and, within a few weeks of fierce fighting with PLO and Syrian forces, managed to occupy southern Lebanon, up to and including Beirut, and to drive the PLO out of the country.


After a PLO attack on a bus full of civilians in northern Israel, killing many, and the Israeli retaliation also causing casualties, Israel launched Operation Litani in March 1978, occupying most of the area south of the Litani River. In response, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 425 calling for the immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces and creating the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), charged with maintaining peace. Israeli forces withdrew later in 1978, turning over positions inside Lebanon along the border to a Lebanese ally, the South Lebanon Army (SLA) under the leadership of Maj. Saad Haddad, thus informally setting up a 12-mile wide "security zone" to protect Israeli territory from crossborder attack.

In 1981 heavily armed forces of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) occupied large areas of southern Lebanon. Attacks against the State of Israel increased; The PLO's armed forces used Lebanon as a base to attack Israel with rockets and artillery. PLO militants fought with Lebanese forces, and killed many thousands of Lebanese citizens. Due to continued civil war since 1975, Lebanon had no effective central government at the time.

In June 1982, following an assassination attempt against its ambassador in London by the Abu Nidal Organization, Israel launched Operation Peace of Galilee, in another attempt to drive the PLO forces out of the country, and secure peace for its northern towns and villages.

Course of Fighting

Outcome of the War

In August 1982, the PLO withdrew its forces from Lebanon. With U.S. assistance, Israel and Lebanon reached an accord in May 1983 that set the stage to withdraw Israeli forces from Lebanon. The instruments of ratification were never exchanged, however, and in March 1984, under pressure from Syria, Lebanon canceled the agreement. In June 1985, Israel withdrew most of its troops from Lebanon, leaving a small residual Israeli force and an Israeli-supported militia in southern Lebanon in a "security zone," which Israel considered a necessary buffer against attacks on its northern territory.

Heavy Israeli casualities and a lack of clear goals led to increasing disquiet among Israelis at the war as well. Israel finally withdrew from the "security zone" in 2000, during the Prime Ministership of Ehud Barak. Israel continues to control a small area called "Sheeba Farms", which Lebanon and Syria claim to be Lebanese territory but Israel insists to be former Syrian territory with the same status as the Golan Heights. The UN position is that the territory is Syrian.

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