How Did We Get Here?
A History of the Israel-Palestine Conflict
5. The 1982 Invasion of Lebanon
This is the fifth of a series of eight lectures, sponsored by
A Jewish Voice for Peace.
This lecture was videotaped on Nov. 18, 2002. The lecturer is Ahmad
About Ahmad Dallal
At the time of the lecture, Ahmad Dallal was Associate Professor,
of Middle Eastern History at Stanford (2000-2003). Since Sept. 2003
he is Associate Professor of Islamic Studies, Georgetown University.
He also taught at Smith College (1991-1994) and Yale University
He studied at American University of Beirut (B.E. Mechanical Engineering)
and Columbia University (M.A. and Ph.D., Middle Eastern Languages and
His books include:
- An Islamic Response to Greek Astronomy: Kitab Ta'dil Hay'at al-Aflak
of Sadr al-Shari'a (edited with translation and commentary, 1995,
- Traditions of Reform: Trends in Eighteenth Century Islamic
- editor, Islam in the Modern World (forthcoming)
- 1860: Druze-Christian war kills 12,000 Christians. French troops
land to protect Maronite community.
- 1914-1918: Ottomans rule collapses, leaving mass starvation in
- 1920: League of Nations gives France mandate for Syria and
- 1926: Republican Constitution.
- 1932: France suspends Constitution.
- 1936: Phalange Party founded by Pierre Gemayel.
- 1939: France falls to Germany, which establishes Vichy France
regime, continuing to administer Lebanon and Syria.
- 1941: British and Free French toops invade Lebanon. France
promises full independence.
- 1943: Lebanon independent.
- 1946: France withdraws.
- 1948: Israel declare independence. Large numbers of Palestinan
- 1953: Camille Chamoun elected President.
- 1956: Israel, backed by France and Britain, attacks Egypt in
war over Suez Canal.
- 1957: Early elections, CIA support.
- 1958: Civil War between Muslims and Christians. President
Camille Chamoun requests US Marines, which land in Beirut.
- 1964: PLO founded.
- June 5-10: Israel's Six Day War, leaving Israel occupying the
West Bank, Gaza Strip, Sinai Peninsula (Egypt), and Golan (Syrian) Heights.
- Dec. 28: Israeli commandos raid Lebanon airport, destroying
13 aircraft. This was retaliation for Arab guerrillas machine-gunning
an Israeli airliner in Athens on Dec. 26.
- 1969: Clashes between Lebanese army and PLO.
- 1970: PLO driven out of Jordan, set up headquarters in Beirut.
Increase in PLO raids into Israel from southern Lebanon.
- 1973: Lebanon sieges PLO camps. Phalange Party
- Apr. 10: Israeli commandos kill three Palestinian leaders in
- 1974: Israel bombs Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps.
- 1975: Civil war starts after Phalangists attack PLO guerillas
- 1976: Civil war fighting intensifies. Christians massacre
Palestinian inhabitants of Karantina and Tel el-Za'atar, Palestinians
massacre Christians in Damour. Syria invited by Lebanese President
Franjieh to intervene in Lebanese fighting. Syrian troops enter Lebanon
and occupy all but far south of the country.
- Aug. 12: Christians massacre Palestinians in Tel-al-Za'tar
- 1978: Israeli army invades southern Lebanon after Israeli
civilians killed in PLO guerrilla raid. United Nations force (UNIFIL)
sent to southern Lebanon. Israel forms proxy Lebanese militia in
occupation zone. Syrian army shells Christians in east Beirut.
- Mar. 12: Israeli army invades southern Lebanon, in retaliation
for Israeli civilians killed in a PLO guerrilla raid.
- Mar. 19: UN Security Council Resolution 425 calls for
immediate Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, and dispatches a new
United Nations force (UNIFIL) to southern Lebanon.
- 1980-81: Increase in hostilities between Israel, Israeli-backed
militias and PLO in southern Lebanon.
- July 17: Israeli jets bomb PLO targets in Beirut, killing 300
- 1982: Syrian troops besiege Syrian city of Hama after Muslim
extremist uprising, killing up to 10,000 Sunni Muslims.
- June 3: Palestinian terrorist group led by Abu Nidal attempts to
assassinate Israel's Ambassador to Great Britain (Shlomo Argov).
- June 6: Israel invades Lebanon.
- Aug. 21: US mediation convinces PLO to leave Lebanon; multinational
peacekeeping force arrives.
- Aug. 23: Bashir Gemayel elected President.
- Sept. 14: Bashir Gemayel assassinated.
- Sept. 16-18: Phalangist militia enters Sabra and Shatila
refugee camps, and massacres 700-800 Palestinians (Israeli estimate;
other estimates range to 2000).
- Sept. 21: Amin Gemayel (Bashir's brother) elected President.
- 1983: US Beirut Embassy destroyed by "Islamic Jihad" suicide
bomber. Lebanese and Israeli governments agree on withdrawal of Israel
troops from Lebanon on condition Syrian army also leaves. Syrians refuse
to withdraw. Outbreak of fighting between Muslim forces and Lebanese
government troops of President Amin Gemayel. Israeli army stages
unilateral withdrawal from Chouf mountains east of Beirut to new front lines
north of Sidon. French and US military headquarters razed by "Islamic
Jihad" suicide bombers, killing more than 300 servicemen after US
warships shell Muslim areas of Lebanon in support of Gemayel's government.
Lebanese hold first "reconciliation" conference in Switzerland.
Suicide bomber destroys Israeli military headquarters in Tyre.
- May 17: Agreement signed between Lebanon and Israel, contingent
on Syrian withdrawal; Syria and its allies attack Lebanese government forces.
- Oct. 23: Suicide bombers kill 241 US Marines and 56 French troops
in near-simultaneous truck bomb attacks.
- 1984: Multinational forces leave Lebanon after collapse of
Lebanese government army. President Assad of Syria welcomes Gemayel to
Damascus. Second Lebanese "reconciliation" conference in Switzerland
fails. Abductions of Westerners in Beirut, including CIA station chief
William Buckley, who dies after torture. Fierce Lebanese resistance --
mainly by Shia Muslims -- against Israeli occupation army in southern
- Feb. 26: Last US Marines leave Lebanon.
- 1985: Israeli army withdraws from Sidon. Israel starts
"iron fist" policy of military repression against guerrilla villages
in southern Lebanon. Car bomb kills more than 80 civilians in Shia
area of Beirut (CIA involvement later reported in Washington). Further
abductions of Westerners in Lebanon, including journalist Terry
Anderson of Associated Press. Israelis withdraw from Tyre. Shia Amal
militia attacks Palestinian Beirut camps. Suicide bombers again attack
Israelis and their allies in southern Lebanon.
- 1986: Shia Amal militia resumes attack on camps. More
Westerners abducted. Hundreds of Palestinians die in camp sieges.
- 1987: Archbishop of Canterbury's envoy Terry Waite
disappears in west Beirut while seeking release of US hostages. Shia
and Druze militia war in Beirut prompts return of thousands of Syrian
troops to Lebanese capital. Palestinian camps siege resumes.
- 1988: Failure of Lebanese parliament to elect new president.
Rival prime ministers take office in west and east Beirut.
- 1989: General Michel Aoun, Christian Lebanese "prime minister,"
declares war on Syrian army in Lebanon. East Beirut besieged by Syrians and
their Lebanese militia allies. Aoun abandons his war.
- 1990: Aoun is driven from the Presidential Palace and
Lebanese civil war officially ends.
- 1993: Israel bombards Southern Lebanon even as Beirut is
- July 25: Israel launches Operation Accountability in southern
- 1996: More than 200 Lebanese civilians die in Israel's "Grapes
of Wrath" attack on Lebanon, 106 in a UN compound at Qana.
- 2000: Israel's army finally retreats behind its frontier
wire as Hezbollah proclaim victory. The Oslo agreement collapses in
- May 25: Israel unilaterally withdraws from Lebanon.
- 2001: Ariel Sharon is elected Prime Minister of Israel.
- Peace for Galilee: Israeli codename for 1982 invasion of
- UNIFIL: United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon. Initially
deployed after the Israel's 1978 invasion of Lebanon (the "Litani River
Operation"). UNIFIL is still deployed, with approx. 3310 troops as of
Sept. 30, 2002.
- Yassir Arafat (): chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization
- Hafez el-Assad (): Syrian president
- Menachem Begin (): Israeli prime minister
- Nabih Berri (): leader of Amal militia and Lebanese minister of justice
- Camille Chamoun (): former Lebanese president, leader of Lebanese National Liberal Party
- Dany Chamoun (): son of former president, leader of "Tigers" militia
- Rafael Eitan (): brigadier general, Israeli army chief of staff
- Suleiman Franjieh (): Lebanese president, ally of Syria
- Amin Gemayel (): Lebanese president after Bashir Gemayel's murder
- Bashir Gemayel (): leader of Phalange militia, Lebanese president-elect
- Philip Habib (): President Reagan's special envoy to Lebanon
- Saad Haddad (): major, leader of pro-Israeli "South Lebanon Army" militia
- Elie Hobeika (): commander of Phalangist militiamen who massacred Palestinians at Sabra and Chatila
- Khalil Jerardi (): south Lebanese resistance leader
- Kamal Jumblatt (): Druze leader of Progressive Socialist Party
- Walid Jumblatt (): Druze leader of PSP after his father Kamal's murder
- Rashid Karami (): Lebanese prime minister
- David Kimche (): director general of the Israeli foreign ministry, formerly head of the Israeli Mossad intelligence service
- Hussein Moussavi (): leader of Islamic Amal militia in Baalbeck
- Imam Mousa Sadr (): leader of the south Lebanese "Movement of the Deprived" (later Amal) until his disappearance in Libya
- Elias Sarkis (): president of Lebanon
- Yitzhak Shamir (): Israeli foreign minister, later prime minister
- Ariel Sharon (): Israeli defense minister and architect of the 1982 invasion of Lebanon
The website suggests the following books for further information on this
The following are useful books that we are familiar with and recommend:
- Kamal Salibi, A House of Many Mansions (Berkeley, 1988)
- Dilip Hiro, Lebanon: Fire and Embers (London, 1993)
- Rashid Khalidi, Under Siege: PLO Decision Making During the
1982 War (NY, 1986)
- Robert Fisk, Pity the Nation: The Abduction of Lebanon
(1990; Fourth Edition, 2002, Thunder's Mouth Press/Nation Books)
- Benny Morris, Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab
Conflict, 1881-2001 (2001, Vintage Books, paperback)
- Dilip Hiro, The Essential Middle East: A Comprehensive Guide
(2003, Carroll & Graf).