Term Paper: 2006 War Between Israel and Lebanon

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Israel & Hezbollah (in Lebanon)

The Conflict Between Israel and Hezbollah - 2006

Key historical issues between Israel and their Arab neighbors living in Palestine and Lebanon: There is a bloody history between Israel and Arabs and hence it is appropriate to review those conflicts at the outset of this paper. Indeed, prior to the war between Israel and Lebanon that began in July, 2006, Israel had engaged in five major wars, or conflicts, with Arab states that border with Israel. It should be noted in terms of perspective that the United Nations authorized a Jewish State in the territory that is now Israel following WWII; the genocidal slaughter of an estimated 3 million Jews in Europe, carried out by the German Nazis, raised the issue of the need for a Jewish homeland, and a majority in the international community went along with the idea.

So, in 1948, the State of Israel was created, and almost immediately five Arab nations, including Lebanon, invaded Israel "...in a vain attempt to prevent the birth of the Jewish nation on land the Arabs felt belonged to them" (Lee, 2006). As Jews from around the world - notably from European nations - began to get settled into their new country, the battles continued.

Civil wars broke out in Palestine, another neighbor with Israel, between Muslim Palestinians and Christian Palestinians in the 1950s and 1960s. Those conflicts spilled over into Lebanon, and in the process, Syria sent a 40,000-man so-called "peace-keeping" force into Lebanon in 1975, taking the side of the Muslims and Palestinian Liberation Army (PLO). As the civil war raged, the PLO began attacking the northern border of Israel (which had been providing arms and money to the Christian Palestinians).

On March 14, 1978, Israel launched an invasion into Lebanon using 25,000 troops, according to journalist Robert a. Lee (www.historyguy.com);the purpose of the incursion was to drive the PLO out of Lebanon. But in the process, the Israeli war effort destroyed an estimated 6,000 homes and forced some 285,000 people to become refugees. Israel lost 20 soldiers and the PLO retreated. Again in 198l, in response to PLO rocket attacks on Israel, the Israeli forces (using heavy air power) began a saturation bombing strategy on Lebanon. The U.S. negotiated a cease-fire. In 1982, Israel launched another offensive into Lebanon, in response to the bombing of a bus in northern Israel and the attempted assassination of Israeli's ambassador to the UK.

And again in June 1993, Israeli forces invaded Lebanon and its actions created over 300,000 refugees as well as destroying power stations, bridges, buildings and highways; this incursion, according to Lee's report, was in response to heavy rocket attacks by Hezbollah into Israel (that killed five Israel Defense Forces, IDF). Once again in April, 1996, Israel went to war with Hezbollah in Lebanon, conducting 1,100 air raids and firing 25,132 shells at Hezbollah targets. Approximately 118 Lebanese civilians were killed in a United Nations camp at Qana, Lebanon, due to Israeli shelling of that area; 62 Israeli civilians were injured due to Hezbollah rockets, and 350 civilians in Lebanon were injured in the conflict, according to journalist Lee.

TWO: KEY ISSUES: Identification of key issues or disputes: Who was responsible for the latest war? That depends on which side one takes. The bottom line is that both sides dislike each other vehemently and the borders between Israel and Lebanon have seen near-constant incidents of violence over the years. In the most recent violent conflict between Israel and the Hezbollah - the one-time "terrorist" organization that recently won political control over Palestine in democratic election - was launched "almost accidentally," according to the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (Curtiss, 2006). On July 12, 2006, Hezbollah fighters, who occupy and operate in several regions of Lebanon, killed three Israeli soldiers near the border between Israel and Lebanon; that in itself, though provocative, was not the match that started the fire between the two factions. What stirred the rage of Israel was that two of their soldiers were also taken captive.

As it turned out, the Israelis had been planning an attack on Lebanon" for over a year, Curtiss writes, in order to discourage Hezbollah incursions into Israel. Three weeks prior to the outbreak of the war, Palestinian "militants" had "tunneled into an Israeli military outpost just outside the Gaza border," killing two Israeli soldiers and taking another captive. That set the stage for the angry response by Israel on July 12, Curtiss writes. The Hezbollah and Palestinian spokespersons said, after the Gaza and July 12 incidents, that the soldiers captured would be returned in exchange for the numerous (perhaps into the thousands) of Arab prisoners Israel holds.

THREE: RECENT and CURRENT POLICY: Ever since Hezbollah became the elected political governing party in Palestine, Israel has refused to recognize it. Israel in fact has promised to destroy Hezbollah, in response to attacks on Israel citizens and soldiers. To wit, for several years Hezbollah has taken credit for suicide bombers that have entered busy marketplaces, hotels, buses and even synagogues in Israel and blown up dozens of people. And the feelings on the side of Hezbollah are mutually antagonistic towards Israel. Every since Sheikh Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah, was elected to lead the group in 1992 "he has been preparing for this war," Curtiss explains. Nasrallah's eldest son was killed in a firefight with Israeli forces in 1997, which adds to the leader's hatred of Israel.

Meantime, was the war legal under international law? What were the interests and goals on the part of both sides? It would be hard to imagine a "legal" war between these two neighbors. Indeed, according to Carlos Pascual, Vice President of the Brookings Institution, there is currently in place a non-hostility agreement between Israel and Lebanon. Pascual, offering observations and possible solutions before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee (September 13, 2006), said "Israel and Lebanon should explore the range of engagement they can undertake in the spirit of the 1949 Israel-Lebanon Armistice Agreement," which is valid even though the details are "outdated," Pascual expressed.

The bitterness between the two sides notwithstanding, Pascual writes that Lebanon must address three "enormous challenges." Those three are, to first "mitigate the immediate impacts of war so those returning to destroyed homes and livelihoods can begin to rebuild their lives." That is going to be an unbelievable task, since the Brookings Institute (a nonprofit organization that has international influence on policy decisions) reports that the recent war "displaced 1 million people, a quarter of Lebanon's population," and it destroyed 30,000 housing units. It also destroyed "crops and tourism" in the southern part of Lebanon, taking away two "main sources of income" for Lebanese citizens. The second major challenge is to build "critical social, economic and physical infrastructure," Pascual asserted. To do this, around $3.5 billion will be needed, and the focus should be on "putting to work Lebanon's strongest asset: the private sector.

The third major challenge facing the international community as it helps Lebanon is to "rectify structural economic and financial issues that have saddled the country with the world's highest per capita debt."

Pascual reported to the Senators that international community (meeting recently in Stockholm, Sweden) has pledged $940 million towards the rebuilding of Lebanon. He said the estimated cost to meet all three challenges is around $5.1 billion. And to reach that goal, he asked the United States to set a target of 15% of this total ($750 million) for "recovery and reconstruction."

FOUR: NATIONAL INTERESTS and GOALS: Following 34 days of fighting in Lebanon, an estimated 1,200 Lebanese (most of them civilians) were killed, while some 117 Israeli soldiers were killed and 41 Israeli civilians died from Hezbollah rocket attacks. The goal of Israeli was to "eliminate Hezbollah," according to Rachelle Marshall writing in Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (Marshall, 2006). Did Israel succeed in its goal? "Hezbollah remained largely intact," Marshall writes, and its leader, Nasrallah, is regarded "as a hero throughout the Middle East."

What is the current situation? The United Nations brokered a ceasefire (Security council Resolution 1701), and 15,000 Lebanese troops have moved into south Lebanon to keep the peace. Soon, according to an article in the journal Middle East (Blanche 2006) the UN will send 15,000 troops to back up the Lebanese forces. Part of the deal that was cut to stop the killing has Hezbollah turning over some weapons caches, but "these will undoubtedly contain its oldest weapons and will be primarily for show so the government can claim the military is being effective and enforcing the ceasefire," Blanche reports. The Lebanese army is, like its government, badly strapped for funds, so the U.S. has pledged "an initial $10 million on top of its $1.5 million annual military aid" to help the Lebanese shore up its forces to keep the ceasefire in place. The Israelis, for their part, are considering two options, Marshall writes; one, "seek a comprehensive peace agreement with Syria… [END OF PREVIEW]

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2006 War Between Israel and Lebanon.  (2006, October 26).  Retrieved April 18, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/2006-war-israel-lebanon/9175522

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"2006 War Between Israel and Lebanon."  Essaytown.com.  October 26, 2006.  Accessed April 18, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/2006-war-israel-lebanon/9175522.