Also known as the Lebanon Invasion (to Arabs) and the First Lebanon War, or Operation Peace in the Galilee (to Israelis). In June 1982, Israel invaded South Lebanon in the midst of the Lebanese Civil War, purportedly in retaliation for the attempted assassination of the Israeli Ambassador to England. Though the would-be assassins were sworn enemies of the Arafat-led Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)
, Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon
had been seeking a pretext to eliminate the PLO from Lebanon (where they had been based since being expelled from Jordan). Despite original statements that Israeli troops would only advance 40 km, Israeli forces quickly reached Beirut, where they laid siege to the Lebanese capital, with the goals of expelling the PLO and installing a pro-Israel Maronite Christian government. International forces led by the United States facilitated the departure of the PLO from Lebanon to Tunisia. Israel encouraged the election of Bashir Gemayel (a Maronite Christian) as Lebanon’s new President in August 1982, but Gemayel was soon assassinated by a member of the Syrian Socialist Nationalist Party, after which a Maronite-aligned militia massacred hundreds of Palestinian men, women and children in the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps, which the Israeli army had granted the militia access to. Israeli forces remained to occupy much of southern Lebanon and engaged in a low-level guerilla war with Lebanese Shi'a groups such as Hezbollah
, which formed to fight the Israeli occupation
of southern Lebanon. The war (and especially the Sabra and Shatilla massacre) inspired protests in Israel and empowered the Israeli peace movement, eventually leading to Prime Minister Menachem Begin’s retirement and withdrawal from politics. In 1985, Israel withdrew to a 12 km security zone in southern Lebanon, where it remained until 2000. See " Lebanon Invasion
," BBC, May 6, 2008; and "Arabs are 'losing faith' in America: lessons from Lebanon 1982
," Ian Black, The Guardian, Jan 4, 2013.