International Fellowship of Christians and Jews

First Lebanon War

Though Israel had been attacked repeatedly, since its inception, the northern border with Lebanon had remained relatively quiet. However, the large influx of Palestinian refugees after 1948 and the events of “Black September” in 1970—the violent suppression of militant Palestinian organizations by King Hussein of Jordan—led to the establishment of PLO headquarters in Lebanon, and caused a radicalization of many of the country’s inhabitants.

In fact, the PLO stronghold in the south of Lebanon, adjacent to Israel’s border, became known as “Fatahland.” The area was governed autonomously, independent of the Lebanese government, and the PLO continued to shell cities in northern Israel from its base in Lebanon. In March 1978, Fatah members from Lebanon traveled across the Israeli border and killed an American tourist on the beach, then hijacked a bus. By the end of the carnage, over thirty Israelis had been killed and over seventy wounded.

Israel invaded Lebanon three days later. “Operation Litani,” named after a river in Lebanon, sought to drive the PLO further north, away from its border with Israel. The IDF was aided in this mission by the South Lebanese Army. The Lebanese people were also suffering under the PLO regime—especially the Lebanese Christians and Jews, who were persecuted and attacked as well. (Shia Muslims initially suffered under PLO rule, but later became more radicalized.) Israel achieved its aim of pushing back the PLO, but the UN forced the IDF to withdraw from Lebanon, and stationed a peace-keeping force—the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFL)—in its place.

Israel, while fending off attacks from the north, tried to strengthen the SLA, its ally from earlier battles, and at the same time, held secret talks with the Christian leadership in Lebanon. However, the shelling and attacks did not stop. A series of Arab attacks and Israeli reprisals continued, despite a cease-fire brokered in 1981. The PLO broke the terms of the treaty over and over, killing or wounding hundreds of Israelis. South Lebanon continued to be a haven for radical Palestinian elements, and their arms cache grew larger and more dangerous. Despite air raids and strikes, the IDF was unable to halt the growth of the PLO. Northern Israeli citizens, especially those living in Kiryat Shmona, began to flee for safer settlements. Israel was almost at the breaking point when the final provocation occurred in June 1982—the Israeli ambassador to Britain, Shlomo Argov, was the victim of an attempted assassination by a Palestinian group. He was seriously wounded, though not killed.

Then-Prime Minister Menachem Begin called a special session of the cabinet which voted in favor of military action. The IDF launched “Operation Peace for Galilee” and, on June 6, moved into Lebanon, determined to drive out the terrorists. The operation, expected to last no more than forty-eight hours and only reach as far as necessary to drive out the terrorist elements, was initially successful. Buoyed by the success, the Israeli government decided to expand the operation, and hoped to drive out the PLO completely, while gaining peace with Lebanon through a substantive peace treaty. As the IDF pushed northward, Syria stepped in, launching attacks at the eastern border of Lebanon. The Israeli Air Force managed to destroy most of Syria’s fighter jets. Israeli troops reached and occupied Beirut, the only time Israel has occupied the capital of an Arab country. They were joined by the Christian Phalanges to help keep order. Christian residents of town near Beirut, who had been terrorized under PLO rule, were grateful the PLO had been driven out and they could rebuild their homes.

Lasting from July through mid-August, the goal of the Israeli occupation of Beirut was to drive out the radical Syrian and Palestinian elements from Lebanon, and in the process, create a more moderate northern neighbor. Despite significant loses, though, the PLO refused to retreat, and the IDF was reluctant to continue the campaign in heavily civilian areas. Israel considered entering into diplomatic negotiations with Lebanon.

The peace process seemed to be advancing, when, in August, Bachir Gemayel, the president of Lebanon, agreed to a peace treaty with Israel. However, on September 14, 1982, he was assassinated while giving a speech. His death, as his assassin later claimed, was in retaliation for agreeing to peace with Israel. Two days later, public opinion of the war began to turn with the massacre in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. The Christian Phalanges, working with the IDF, were instructed to root out the remaining terrorists living in the camps and hand them over to the IDF. Instead, seeking revenge, the Phalanges massacred the inhabitants of the camps, totaling over 800 civilian deaths. It was later reported that the IDF had prior intelligence that the Phalanges were planning a massacre, and did not take the warning seriously. Begin, responding to international pressure, launched an inquiry into the massacre a few months later, the outcome of which was that then-Defense Minister Ariel Sharon was found unfit and forced to resign.

Following the massacre, Israel agreed to an American-brokered cease-fire, and began the long process of withdrawal. A multinational force took the place of the IDF, and evacuated more than 14,000 PLO members as well. Many settled in Tunis, which later became the new PLO headquarters. However, the attacks did not cease. The PLO planned carefully controlled attacks on Israel, in violation of the cease-fire, in order to force Israel’s hand. The PLO knew that if Israel launched an all-out military response, Israel would be condemned worldwide for violating the terms of the agreement. The PLO’s infrastructure was hidden among civilian buildings, thereby making it difficult for Israel to attack without harming civilians. The multinational force in Beirut, established to keep peace after the IDF withdrawal, was attacked numerous times as well, and France and America both suffered troop losses. The multinational force disbanded, but the unstable Lebanese government was unable to reign in the militias that began to form in south Lebanon. Continued clashes between militant groups and the IDF led to more casualties.

As the war, which was supposed to be a quick incursion, dragged out, for the first time, there was not complete consensus in Israel as to the justification for the war. Protests were staged within Israel, demanding the troops pull out, and in September 1983, Begin resigned as prime minister, succeeded by Yitzhak Shamir. In 1985, under the new government, the IDF withdrew, leaving a small force in an area called the “security zone” to help the South Lebanese Army regain control and to protect northern Israeli communities, where they remained until May of 2000. The IDF stationed in the security zone faced constant attacks from Hezbollah terrorists, and Israel came under increasing pressure, both internally and internationally, for remaining in the country. Finally, the decision was made to withdraw completely from the security zone.

Israel was successful in driving out the PLO, but the terror campaign did not stop, and Israel suffered heavy casualty losses during the war—over 1,000 soldiers died. The terrorist group Hezbollah began to grow in numbers and power, launching rockets into northern Israel.

What do you think?

  • Steve
    December 20, 2012
    4:51 pm

    A covenant between the creator and the created can only be changed by the creator, which He has not done. The day is coming in His timing when the boundaries will be restored by Him forever.

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  • Juan
    July 27, 2012
    2:24 pm

    Israel must make sure that every single violation of agreements and ceasefires by it’s enemies hit the headlines around the globe as it happens to expose it’s enemies’ duplicity to the world.

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  • jeb
    February 10, 2012
    5:40 am

    The Palestinians have never been received well by other Arab/Muslim states. The above history is correct in most details although I seem to remember an Israeli operation on the Litani River line to push back PLO terrorist groups from Israel’s borders before the “1st Lebanon War”. Even now the Palestinians (Before Rabin Palestinian = terrorist) preceded their supplication to the UN for national recognition with demands their status as refugees and funding as refugees would be continued after Statehood. Israel is also more of a refugee state than anything like a settler state (An important distinction when bigots try to compare Israel to South Africa.) especially after 1948 when Israel absorbed nearly 1 million Jewish refugees from Arab states where they were exiled and disenfranchised by a resurgence of Islamist’s bigotry. The principle difference between the Jewish refugees is they were better absorbed by the Jewish Homeland. The Palestinians have remained a cause and rallying point for Islamist theocratic tyrannies like Iran where anti-non-Muslim bigotry is central to their politics. I join all those who ask G-d to bless Israel the Jewish Homeland and that the evil intent of Islamist tyrants be exposed for what it is.

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  • Musa
    January 14, 2012
    12:49 pm

    I love Israel may God help and protect them. I want Israel to invest in Nigeria Oil sector and security to over come her financial needs.

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  • Francis
    November 14, 2011
    7:19 am

    Muslims and arabs will try in vain to defeat israel.since they could not defeat israel in 1948 they never will.Gods word stands 4 ever.I will support israel for ever.

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  • Maria
    October 7, 2011
    2:24 pm

    I stand behind Israel and I would die for her! What is being done to her is wrong! The apple of G-ds eye is Israel” Those who fight her will lose, those who kill her people the Jews will be judge by G-ds hand alone and unless you nations place your sins at His feet you will die. I don’t dare judge you because His will be stronger than I could ever do because the pain will last forever!

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  • Lonnie
    June 3, 2011
    12:28 pm

    I have been a solider all of my adult life and was on alert in early 1974 with the 2nd Armored Division and spent 3 days in a C-5 on West Ft. Hood,Tx. in preparation to go to Israels assistance but before we received the order to take off Israel had settled the mater. But we are ready and willing to go help Israel, I know that Israel has had to fight just for the right to exist and even though I am now a service connected disabled Army Sgt.I would still today be more than ready to go to Israel to help protect the best friend we ever had in the Middle East. Know that I pray for your nation daily and your people and military and God willing you will finally find the peace you deserve.

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  • hill
    April 13, 2011
    8:57 am

    To ALL OF ISRAEL…The State of Pennsylvania, City of ALTOONA, USA, has many folks who Love and Pray for ALL OF YOU ! ! We PRAY to JEHOVA GOD, Through HIS Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, that ALL of your Arab Neighbors, be dealt with with a double portion of God’s Revenge! IT seems unfathomable to us that our Great, God Honoring Country of the United States of America, with our ELECTED Leader(s), can turn a blind eye to your constant persecution! We NEED your Prayers that our President, “Obama” and all like him, be voted OUT of Office and Replaced By A GOD Fearing President and Team! Only Then Will we have the Guts and Backbone to PUSH BACK these bullies, the Muslims, who seek not only your annihilation but ours as well! JEHOVA GOD, PLEASE PROTECT YOUR PEOPLE AND YOUR LAND! NOW DEAR LORD, NOW YOUR PEOPLE NEED YOUR INTERVENTION AS WE WATCH AND PRAISE YOU AS YOU DEFEAT THESE BARBARIANS WITH BUT A WHISPER! FATHER, PROTECT AND BLESS YOUR HOLY CITY OF JERUSALEM! REMOVE OBAMA AND MEN LIKE HIM FROM ANY POSITION OF POWER,BOTH IN THE UNITED STATES, IN ISRAEL and THROUGHOUT THIS WORLD! IN YOUR SON and OUR MESSIAH/REDEEMER’S HOLY NAME WE PRAY. AMDN

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    • Joseph
      May 28, 2011
      10:12 am

      My mother was born in Altoona Pa. she was later orphaned and spoken by a Jew, raised by the Holy Roman Catholic church married a Catholic Night ( Nights of Columbus. I am named after Jesus’s father on earth. I will let you know that YHWH is the Jewish Hallowed begotten name for God the father, Man later took the god known to be the beginning , end and new beginning AOA and inserted these letters making God the fathers name to be spoken. Jesus did not even speak of his name when he spoke to the apostles how to pray he stated OUR Father who art in heaven Hallowed be thy name. so I really get offended when man changes God name to be spoken or changes from what can be spoken if he set the rules to insert AOA Yahowah, not Yehowah. Jahovah AOA.
      Joseph Donald M atone

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    • Nina
      November 20, 2011
      9:12 pm

      I didn’t think that the letter “j” existed in the Hebrew language. Am I wrong? I thought Hashem was an accurate translation for God, or perhaps, Yehovah.

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  • Valerie
    January 27, 2011
    11:20 pm

    God’s eyes are on Zion. His covenant to the Jewish people is established forever. My heart crys out to God daily for the Jewish people and for the peace of Jerusalem. God put the Jewish people on my heart and then he lead me to a church-World Revival Church. I thank God for that. I have now found a REAL church with a heart for Israel and the Jewish people. Be encouraged Israel. We pray FERVENTLY for you every week. God’s Spirit is coming down at World Revival church because we want God to feel welcome through our worship.”God dwells among the praises of His people.”Let Israels worshippers arise!
    We pray that we may be ONE, Jew and Gentile under the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Holy One of Israel. I pray this strengthens your faith in Him. You have friends Israel and you know that God is Faithful to His Word. Shalom to Israel and all the Jews around the world.God is “beckoning” to the Gentiles.

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  • Yuri
    December 15, 2010
    1:35 pm

    Let us all pray and support Israel. The chosen Holy land of our Lord and Savior!

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  • Esther
    December 7, 2010
    1:22 am

    We Christians need to earnestly pray for Israel……that the whole truth will come out for the world to hear. We do know that God has a plan for Israel: He made them a nation in 1948 and He will keep that nation.

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  • wendy
    September 30, 2010
    2:56 pm

    Israel will be trampled under feet until the times of the gentiles be fulfilled.I don’t understand why the world sees Israel through such a warped hatred.They give the Palestineans a multimillion dollar business growing bugfree kosher food and not only does no one give them a thankyou they are chided for supposedly sabotaging greenhouses.I wish G-d would intervene.

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    • Tom
      December 6, 2012
      2:41 pm

      The time of the Gentiles has been fulfilled. The time of the Gentiles ended in 1967 when Mosha Dyan and the army of Isreal retook Jerusalem.the clock of the end times began ticking at that moment.

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  • maria corazon
    August 13, 2010
    11:05 am

    It is biblical and it is written that Israel and Jerusalem were covenanted to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and no one can change what God has already declared, they will just waste their time, energy and resources, these are the palace for God’s people!

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  • Cmax
    July 27, 2010
    12:29 am

    God bless Israel and may there be peace in Jerusalem and in all of Israel!

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  • J. Seraphin
    July 13, 2010
    10:07 am

    There is something special about Israel and the Jewish people. Jehovah God used them to reveal himself to the nations, to all of us who were lost and far away from him. Today by grace and through faith we are all sons and daughters of Jehovah.

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  • Jean seraphin
    July 13, 2010
    9:58 am

    The issue is clear, Jerusalem and Israel belong to jews. And Jerusalem has to become the Capital city of Israel.

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  • Miguel
    February 17, 2010
    3:59 pm

    As a christian family we totally support our Lord’s land and its people. We owe it to them for presenting us the One and Only True God. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We constantly pray for Israel and know for sure that our God will always protecter her no matter how biased the media is against Israel.

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    • Sheri
      January 20, 2011
      8:22 pm

      As a Gentile believer, we have a heart for these precious people of God. The war torn and tempest tossed life style they are forced to endure is almost inconceivable. I pray Peace for Jerusalem and the people coming home to her.Love, Sister Sheri

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  • buy strattera
    December 13, 2009
    4:41 am

    this is a cool news. Thank you.

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