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Israel and the Morass in Lebanon

Yonatan Hassidim

Staff Writer

Hezbollah Missiles

Hezbollah soldiers mockingly saluting their flag similarly to the Nazis

In 1970, the Palestinians’ migration from Jordan to Lebanon caused an ethnic imbalance. A long-lasting, fragile compromise between the four ethnic groups in Lebanon -- Christians, Sunni Muslims, Druze, and Shia Muslims -- had been interrupted. The arrival of many displaced Palestinians had undermined an agreement between the groups to share critical positions in the government. By taking control of Southern Lebanon and turning the peaceful border with Israel into a war zone, the Palestinians affected Lebanon’s sovereignty, resulting in the end of the compromise between Lebanon’s four ethnic groups.

In 1982, Israel decided Lebanon could no longer go unchecked and began to occupy Southern Lebanon to prevent attacks from the Palestinian Liberation Organization, which had taken control of that region. The prolonged occupation in the territory caused the Shiites to join the Sunni Muslims to fight against Israel. Iran, wanting to give the Shiites more power than the Sunni Muslims, further escalated the matter by supplying the Shiites with money, petroleum, and weapons, granting the Shiites a strong foothold as the dominant group in Lebanon. In 2000, Israel ended the occupation as they no longer had much reason to stay. By then, Hezbollah had gained all important government positions, despite Israel’s actions to prevent this. Hezbollah was now able to brag that it was the only power in the Middle East able to defeat the Israeli army. The continued collapse of the Lebanese economy further established Hezbollah’s dominion in Lebanon, and members of other groups were also pressured to yield to Hezbollah.

In 2006, Hezbollah’s violence heightened, and after three border patrol soldiers were killed, Israel declared the Second Lebanon War. The United Nations intervened, and the war ended with a ceasefire. Israel agreed to the adoption of Resolution 1701 of the UN security council, which stated that Hezbollah must remain disarmed. The international forces poorly monitored this agreement, leading to a dramatic increase in Hezbollah’s arsenal. Israeli Intelligence uncovered Hezbollah had more than 100,000 missiles, but avoided another conflict.

Today, Israel constantly threatens Lebanon, claiming that using these missiles against Israel will have negative consequences against all of Lebanon, not just the South. So far, Israel plans to strictly examine every one of Hezbollah’s moves and map out all of Hezbollah’s arsenal locations. Fortunately, as the economy in Lebanon continues to worsen, it weakens the base of Lebanon, simultaneously weakening Hezbollah. According to a newsletter by Israel Defense, “neither [Israel nor Hezbollah] want a war due to its cost,” and Israel hopes that Hezbollah won’t take any action, knowing that the repercussions would be disastrous.

Photo Sources: World Today News, World Politics Review



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