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Timeline of Israel’s Presence in Lebanon

May 24, 2000
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April 1975: Beginning of the civil war in Lebanon. 1976: Israel and Christian militias hold their first contacts, aimed at developing an alliance against their common enemy, the PLO.

March 1978: Israel launches Operation Litani, taking control of Lebanese territory south of the Litani River in an effort to curb cross-border attacks by Palestinian guerillas. Within days, the U.N. Security Council passes two resolutions on Lebanon: Resolution 425 calls on Israel to withdraw from all Lebanese territory; Resolution 426 establishes the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, a peacekeeping force that has remained in place until today.

July 1981: Israeli forces bomb PLO headquarters in West Beirut.

June 1982: Israel launches Operation Peace for Galilee, the start of its full- scale invasion of Lebanon, eventually driving the PLO out of the country.

September 1982: Christian Phalangists massacre of hundreds of Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps.

1985: Israel creates a 9-mile-wide security zone after withdrawing most of its troops from Lebanon.

November 1989: Ta’if Agreement brings the civil war in Lebanon to an end. Brokered by the Arab League, it endorses a Syrian military presence in Lebanon.

July 1993: Following the killing of seven Israeli soldiers in southern Lebanon, Israel launches Operation Accountability, during which the IDF carries out its heaviest artillery and air attacks on southern Lebanon since 1982.

April 1996: Israel launches Operation Grapes of Wrath, striking at targets in Lebanon to retaliate for Hezbollah rocket attacks on northern Israel. After shelling of the Kana U.N. camp in southern Lebanon results in the deaths of at least 91 Lebanese refugees who had taken shelter there, Israel suffers heavy international criticism and ends the operation.

September 1997: Twelve Israeli naval commandos are killed during a raid on Lebanon. It is the IDF’s heaviest casualty count in a single military operation in more than 12 years.

November 1997: Dozens of Israeli soldiers are killed in a crash of two helicopters en route from Lebanon. The accident prompts growing demands for an end to Israel’s military presence in Lebanon.

March 1999: Opposition leader Ehud Barak pledges during Israel’s election campaign that if elected prime minister, he will get all Israeli troops out of Lebanon by June 2000.

March 2000: Israel’s Cabinet votes unanimously for a full troop withdrawal.

(Source: JTA staff research)

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