Israel–Lebanon relations - Wikipedia
Another war in Lebanon, the Israeli chief of the country's 'Military the land which Herzi calls Israel and a further million refugees from Syria. With the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon and the end of occupation there, very active factors drawing Lebanon and Syria back into a relationship with Israel. Israel pivots from Syria to Lebanon as Hezbollah amasses political power This is a failing attempt to bash the relations between Lebanon and.
In response, the militant Shia group Hezbollah formed with Syrian and Iranian backing. They conducted guerrilla warfare against Israel to resist the occupation. Inthe Israeli army burned down olive groves to "deprive Hezbollah guerrillas of cover".
The day operation caused hundreds of thousands of civilians in south Lebanon to flee their homes.War is ddttrh.infoe, Israel, Lebanon, Turkey, Syria
On April 18, several Israeli shells struck refugee compounds, killing civilians sheltered there. Throughout the s discontent had been growing in Israel about the occupation of parts of Lebanon. Discontent increased as a result of a helicopter crash that killed 73 Israeli soldiers bound for Lebanon.
Ehud Barak campaigned for prime minister on a platform of withdrawing from Lebanon.
- Lebanon and Syria: Internal and Regional Dimensions
- Lebanon–Syria relations
The SLA collapsed and about 6, SLA members and their families fled the country, although more than 2, had returned by December With the withdrawal of Israeli forces, many in Lebanon began calling for a review of the continued presence of Syrian troops, estimated in late at approximately 25, The destruction of Lebanese infrastructure that the Israeli military left behind, particularly water infrastructure, was devastating to Southern Lebanon.
The international border between Lebanon and Israel is still to be determined in the framework of a peace agreement. In August, the Government of Lebanon deployed over 1, police and soldiers to the former security zone, but Hezbollah also maintained observation posts and conducted patrols along the Blue Line. While Lebanon and Syria agreed to respect the Blue Line, both have registered objections and continue to argue that Israel has not fully withdrawn from Lebanese soil.
As regional tension escalated with the Palestinian intifada in SeptemberHezbollah cited Blue Line discrepancies when it reengaged Israel on October 7, taking three Israeli soldiers captive in an area known as Shebaa Farms.
This largely unpopulated Israeli controlled territory along the border between Lebanon and Syria is claimed by Lebanon, although the United Nations and Israel agree that Shebaa Farms is part of Syria. Since the beginning of the Cedar Revolutionhopes had increased of an Israel-Lebanon peace treaty. We don't want wars. We hope that the peace process moves ahead with us, with the Syrians, with all the Arab countries," but he added that Lebanon would not sign a separate peace treaty as Jordan and Egypt have done.
Other Lebanese leaders draw an even harder line. It was uncovered in the cache of diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks that inLebanese Defense Minister had sent messages to Israel via the United States stating the Lebanese Army would refrain from getting involved in a future conflict between Israel and Hezbollah and that the army, as quoted in the cables "will move to pre-position food, money, and water with these units so they can stay on their bases when Israel comes for Hezbollah — discreetly, Murr added.
Ambassador to Lebanon Michele Sison, the dispatcher of the cable, "Murr offered some ideas aimed at avoiding turning the Christian population against Israel when the next war with Hezbollah occurs Many were expected to receive the death penaltywhich the Lebanese cabinet announced it intended to carry out. While Israel's find is within its territorial exclusive economic zone, the dispute stems from the possibility that the gas field spans to Lebanon's boundary.
A general principle in such a situation is the Rule of capture where each side is permitted to lift as much as it can on its side.
Israel has already started exploration and construction on its side, while Lebanese authorities have not yet officially demarcated its exclusive economic zone or initiated a process of attracting bids for exploration rights. Beirut had previously warned the American Noble Energy company not to approach its territory. In response, Israeli Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau warned Lebanon that Israel was willing to use force to protect the gas reserves discovered off its shores.
The law called for the establishment of a treasury and a committee to oversee exploration and drilling. A month ago, there was a conference on memory and the future in Lebanon, but unfortunately, it turned out to be an intellectual exercise. As in other wars, in the Balkans or Rwanda, the memories of violence and victimization are never fully erased. And the Lebanese tradition of compromise — no winner and no loser — does not help in terms of getting to a process of policing the past and assigning blame for the tragic and unjust consequences of the war.
Establishing war crimes tribunals or a Lebanese truth and justice commission would be a difficult, if not impossible, task.
Just look at the trial, for instance, of the Maronite warlord Samir Geagea and the current trial of the former SLA members. They were all guilty of several crimes, but they were singled out by the Lebanese state for trial and punishment largely, in the case of Geagea, because he did not play by the rules of the current political status quo. Warlords from other communities who were responsible for equally reprehensible atrocities are today free; some even hold crucial positions in the Lebanese government.
Another significant obstacle to policing the past in Lebanon is the influence of external forces: Internal healing must be rooted in the will of the Lebanese people themselves rather than manipulated or imposed by outside actors. Since it is clearly to the advantage of outside powers occupying Lebanon to delay genuine conflict resolution and obstruct national reconciliation through policies based on divide and rule, the removal of all foreign, in this case Syrian, troops should hasten reconciliation.
Last but not least is the U.
The best illustration of it is the vote last week here on the Hill for cutting any economic assistance to Lebanon at this stage: I looked up on the UNRWA website yesterday, and it says, as of June 30,there areregistered refugees out a total of 3, throughout the Middle East. The actual number of registered refugees in Lebanon from reports I see and from experts I talk to is actually smaller. So the numbers have diminished.
The smallest number I have heard, which is probably too small, is ,; the highest isSome of them have become citizens of the country over the years, especially a lot of Christian Palestinians, and some are just able to work on the economy as guests in the country. First, they cannot work in the economy. They cannot work outside the refugee camps except in two categories of work, common labor in construction and agriculture.
They are not allowed to do anything else, to be a doctor, lawyer, administrator, whatever. Naturally, a number work illegally. That makes it a very different situation than in Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza.
Second, for the most part, they are not allowed to own property. Third, they cannot attend public schools. This becomes very important, because UNRWA offers public schooling for refugee children through primary school. They make an exception in Lebanon for the junior high-school level.
So there are some students at that level and I think just a few at the high-school level, but it does not reflect the numbers of young people who want to go to junior high school or high school and are not being allowed to do so. Finally, they do not have passports; they are stateless. This is in contrast to the situation of the Palestinians in Jordan, the vast majority of whom have passports and can travel as Jordanian citizens. In Syria they do not have passports but travel papers, and that is an impediment.
This is not a good situation. I used to say that the situation of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon was absolutely the worst in the Middle East. What is the Lebanese political attitude towards the Palestinians? One reads in the press time and time again that the politicians want them out; they see them as potentially disruptive. However, we do not hear much more than rhetoric.
Somewhat ironically, among Arab politicians, the Lebanese are the strongest defenders of the concept of the right of return — but for negative reasons.
Fifteen or 25 years ago, you heard talk in Lebanon that the Sunnis entertained the concept of nationalizing a lot of the Palestinian refugees because they too are Sunni Muslims, in order to augment their numbers. In many ways, the Palestinians of Lebanon made Yasser Arafat. A lot of his support came from there; he was able to organize and get money and get recruits there.
After the events in Jordan, in which the PLO was essentially defeated by the Jordanian government, a lot of Palestinians went to Lebanon, and a state within a state was organized by the Palestinians for a number of years. Even after the defeat ina lot of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon continued to support the PLO. However, we start seeing a major shift after the Oslo accord in It was predicted in the press, and it became reality that the Palestinians there would feel abandoned by the PLO.
The Palestine Red Crescent services have diminished very greatly. A consequence of this, naturally, is that the refugees are relatively disgruntled. Very few came from Lebanon because most of those who were working for the PLO there had already left.
What are the attitudes of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon? There are some polls and some observations from people who go there and talk to them, including myself. Some of the polls say that the poorer one is as a Palestinian refugee in Lebanon, the more likely he or she will be to state a desire to return to historical Palestine.
You will see this phenomenon especially in the refugee camps, among people who do not have very much hope. Another type of attitude among the more worldly is very anti-Israel, naturally, and, by extension, anti-U.
Looking at it from a slightly different perspective, some of the more thoughtful Palestinian politicians in Lebanon worry about the nature of a future Palestinian-Israeli Arab agreement that would involve settling the refugee situation. Because Palestinian refugees feel that their interests are not going to be represented by Lebanon — that they are going to be pushed out in one direction or the other — they are even more disgruntled. Attitudes have changed over time.
He asked them what they feared the most. The thing that they feared the most was not the Israeli military; it was the Christian militia coming into the camps. The second thing they feared the most was the Lebanese military. And the third thing they feared was the Israeli aircraft over their heads. It was a very interesting juxtaposition. It would be interesting to know what they fear the most today.
Most likely the Lebanese military. What is going to happen to the Palestinians in Lebanon? One had been hearing rumors over the last year and a half that there were discussions by some Western governments to try to pressure Lebanon through money etc. One is not hearing that as much anymore, but I was hearing such discussions from both British and American and some other European circles for a while.
It is somewhat ironic; the Lebanese Hizballah are having more influence now. You alluded to this briefly.
Lebanon–Syria relations - Wikipedia
Many Lebanese regard the Syrians as very unwelcome in Lebanon, yet they have been participants in Lebanese politics now for a long time. Presumably their departure would leave some sort of a vacuum to be filled by somebody or other. When we talk about Lebanese interests as far as Syria is concerned, we must ask who has an interest in a close connection with the Syrian regime.
Out of any business deal that goes ahead in Lebanon, the biggest example being the mobile phone companies, the Syrians take a cut. The same applies for a cement factory in northern Lebanon. They both use Lebanon as a cash cow. From the grass-roots level there is a kind of rebellion, but unfortunately it is a helpless rebellion. The Lebanese like to use Poland as an example of a country that was occupied and later redeemed. Lebanon has a huge diaspora — more than seven million Lebanese around the world, six million in Brazil alone.
But this diaspora has not been harnessed yet by the Lebanese government with any authority. The pope himself, asked the Christian Lebanese to clean their own house, to nurture new leadership. This did not come about.
Lebanon today is in a transition and suffers from lack of leadership. We have a billionaire, who is the prime minister, and we have former warlords who have been recycled. The Christian leaders are either in exile in Paris or sitting in Lebanon cowed by the Syrians. Or we have the patriarch, who is trying to use his religious prestige and charisma to try to have some kind of political influence. To no avail because Lebanese internal politics today are hostage to the Syrian-Israeli relationship.
What would happen to the integrity of the country and its ability to lead itself and deflect outside influences? What situation would occur, should the Syrians not be there?
We know the answer that Damascus has arrived at. There may be a very unrealistic attitude about what would happen to Lebanon if Syria were not there. Martha, earlier you said that you had some thoughts on U. It clearly is a new era in the Middle East, as elsewhere. I wonder if you would take a minute or two to tell us those thoughts. Syria emerged from a year peace effort with what it thought was greater knowledge of the Israeli political system and a greater fear of it than they had going in.
At bottom they still see Israel as quite aggressive, with this insatiable appetite for security, and that it is largely the United States that can keep that in check. They think they have a clearer grasp of our political parties, the role of Congress and, most important, the limitations of the U. I think they still make clear distinctions between the individual and the role, but I think they have come to see the U.
One of the stories that I think the media in this country really failed to tell as it probably should have been told was the final chapter for Syria. The Geneva summit with President Clinton was regarded by the Syrians as a deception. The terms presented were not in any way acceptable to them. It ended abruptly, after an intentional effort to set up the circumstances for the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon, no more, no less.
This experience has had the impact of reinforcing in the Syrian mindset deceptions that have been perpetrated on them from the beginning of the negotiations, beginning not inbut in And it has raised long-held fears about being manipulated in order to advance another track, in this case the Palestinian. I assume his son also does. Syria knows it cannot challenge Israel militarily. I find it perplexing to see glib remarks about the current violence going to lead to full-scale war. They will need the buffer of Lebanon to try to stanch that vulnerability.
Their history would make them very concerned about a renewed peace effort involving pulling Lebanon away from Syria, and trying to negotiate a U. Those fears must be waiting to be stimulated, should we ever get back to the negotiating track. I think this is a real problem in terms of our ability to influence the situation.
I would just exercise my prerogative as moderator to say that I think the realistic danger is not all-out war in the Middle East, but that the collapse of Oslo and Madrid will extend to Camp David.
That would indeed create a new situation. It must be a side-effect of compassionate conservatism that no one has mentioned the new administration and its views of the region, such as we know of them. The administration came into power pledging not to treat the countries in the region as the means to a sole end, but to deal with them in their own right; not to make one issue the centerpiece of the region, but to deal with the multiplicity of issues.
They said they were determined to take a more balanced region-wide view. They also indicated that they did not wish to give any country a veto over bilateral relations between the United States and any other, which some took at the time to indicate an American receptivity to exploring new relations with the son of the late Hafiz al-Asad, assuming that Syrian economic reform proceeded to the point where it would facilitate such relations.
In the non-partisan spirit of the Middle East Policy Council, I would like the partisan people on the podium to ponder that and perhaps say a word or two either now or later about the positive or negative effects of the emerging distancing of the United States from the region that many people see to be happening.
The man in the street? My distinctions in discussing how Syrian attitudes emerged from the 10 years of negotiations with the United States and Israel referred to those involved in the negotiations, either directly — a very small group — or those brought into the decision-making process during the 10 years.
Separately, I think, the average Syrian emerged with the same negative attitudes towards Israel that they had held prior to the negotiations, even though there was a brief period from about to during which the Syrian government was clearly trying to prepare its population for the possibility of peace and had worked with various groups to start changing those attitudes.
This has very quickly been reversed. I would count probably no more than 15 or 20 people included in the more nuanced understanding. I was struck by Dr. I have lived in Syria, though not in Lebanon, and a lot of people seem to like Hariri and think that he did really care deeply about the Lebanese people.
Where do those opinions come from? My second question is for Ms. When I was living in Syria I noticed, although there was this entanglement with Lebanon, the economies of the two countries seemed very separate. How was this possible? And what are the implications for the continuing political occupation of Lebanon?
Hariri is a creation of Saudi Arabia. He is a Saudi-Lebanese citizen. The Syrians postponed the election for three years. Inthe current president, General Emile Lahoud, was elected. Hariri is an implementer, and the next few months are going to show whether he is going to succeed or fail. They are now trying to downsize a bloated administration. The same thing is happening in the telecommunications industry and other places. Two days before he came to the United States springthere was an attack in south Lebanon, which he condemned in his own newspaper.
Then he had to backtrack. Hariri had a period of disruption in his relationship with Damascus. But he is a less powerful figure than he was before. I think the differences in economic orientation reflect the differences between Lebanon and Syria in their international orientation and their historical experience. They have developed quite different approaches to economic activity, with Lebanon being very laissez-faire and Syria following a socialist model.
There was a lot of thought when Syria became so heavily involved in Lebanon that somehow the Syrians would learn from the Lebanese and be able to take their ossified system and model it more on the vibrancy that used to exist in the Lebanese economy.
I was very skeptical of that. He had a very different vision of where he wanted to take Syria than where he did in fact take it. Many of those ideas and sentiments persisted until he died. I assume he conveyed many of them to his son and that they are shared by many other leaders, particularly the old guard. I am not suggesting that the kind of corruption that exists in Syria is compatible with those kinds of ideas, but they have watched with some alarm what goes on in Lebanon.
What are they doing relative to the Palestinian refugees? Secondly, both Faisal Husseini and the legal team with the Palestinian negotiators, when they talk about Palestinian refugees, refer to options, return to Israel being one.
There is another level of Syrian utilization of Palestinians, though, and that is through some of the factions of the PLO. A number of them are based in Damascus, and they have followers in Lebanon, but they apparently utilize that particular set of relations for their own interests.
If there is a settlement, the Lebanese politicians are not interested in solving the Palestinian problem in a Lebanese context. They want to see them out. Over the course of the negotiations and throughout the conflict, going back decades, Syria has associated itself with the Palestinian cause in interesting ways and has been a great promoter of Palestinian rights, both cynically and seriously.
Hizballah has ceased to recruit from Palestinians in the refugee camps of southern Lebanon. In the future perhaps there could be conflict between Hizballah and Iran.
If Iran and Syria ever have disagreements, this could have a major impact on where Hizballah goes.