2006 Lebanon War

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Result of an attack by Israeli forces on the Lebanese city of Tyre in July 2006

The 2006 Lebanon War, also named The Second Lebanon War,[1] was a conflict between the paramilitary forces of the Hezbollah and the Israeli army. It lasted 34 days between the 12th of July 2006 and the 14th of August 2006,[2][3] triggered by the killing of three Israeli soldiers and abduction of two additional Israeli soldiers by the Hezbollah.

The war was particularly characterized by the amount of air strikes and rockets launched by each side. It caused the death of 1,109 Lebanese and 159 Israelis.[4] In addition, over a million people were forcibly displaced.[5]

The United Nations Resolution 1701, adopted by the United Nations Security Council on the 14th of August 2006, put an end to the conflict.[6]

Background[change | change source]

Hezbollah (also known as "the Party of God") is a Shi'a Lebanese political party with a military branch.[7] It emerged as a movement of resistance against the second Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982.[7] Israel did not withdraw from south Lebanon until May 2000.[8] Their departure was depicted as an important victory for Hezbollah.[8]

In the aftermath of the withdrawal Hezbollah pursued its attack against Israel. In October of 2000, the Hezbollah conducted an operation on the disputed territories of the Sheba'a Farms, during which it kidnapped three Israeli soldiers.[8] The conflict was settled through an exchange of prisoners.[9]

With a few exceptions, from 2000 to July 2006 the situation in South Lebanon was stable, with minor episodes of attacks and retaliation between Israel and Hezbollah.[10]

The war[change | change source]

Start of the war[change | change source]

On July 12th 2006, Hezbollah launched an attack against an Israeli division while it was patrolling along the border.[8] During this operation, later named "Operation Truthful Promise," Hezbollah killed three Israelis and two were captured.[11] In addition to the first three casualties, five other Israeli fighters were killed due to a Hezbollah anti-tank mine while trying to rescue their colleagues.[11] Hezbollah hoped for the exchange of Palestinian and Arab prisoners held by Israel in return for the captured Israeli soldiers.[2] Israel responded to this attack with a bombardment of artillery and airstrikes on Hezbollah targets and began a ground invasion of southern Lebanon.[2]

Israeli response[change | change source]

Only few hours after the initial Hezbollah attack, Israeli authorities decided to retaliate and launched the "Operation Change of Direction".[12] This bombing not only targeted military objectives but also civilian ones. Israel bombed South Lebanon villages, as well as numerous building blocks in the South of Beirut.[13] One of the most significant of these attacks was the bombing of the Beirut airport, which killed 44 civilians.[14] Early in the hours of the next day, Israeli forces conducted Operation Density, an aerial attack lasting 34 minutes that wiped out much of Hezbollah's missile and rocket supply, though Israeli reports often exaggerated the toll.[15] Much of the war was conducted in the air, with the Israeli Air Force flying 11,897 missions in total and the Israeli artillery firing 170,000 shells.[16] These were unprecedented numbers for the military.

Rockets launched around the city of Tyre in Lebanon

Aside from airstrikes, from the first days of the conflict, Israel launched a ground attack on South Lebanon against Hezbollah.[8] The goal of this attack was to repel Hezbollah from the Israeli border, in order to establish a security zone.[17]

Hezbollah during the war[change | change source]

From the 13th of July onward, Hezbollah retaliated to Israeli airstrikes by launching hundreds of rockets over the Israeli territory.[8] This offensive targeted military as well as civilian objectives.[8] The Hezbollah fired between 3,970 and 4,228 rockets in total.[18][19]

On the ground, Hezbollah fighters were able to resist Israeli offensives.[8] Indeed the IDF found itself unable to take Lebanese cities facing well-organized Hezbollah militias.[8] The Hezbollah was able to face the Israeli army through the use of guerrilla tactics.[20]

End of the war[change | change source]

War memorial near the Lebanon border

United Nations Resolution 1701[change | change source]

The conflict between Israel and Hezbollah was ended by the United Nation Resolution 1701.[13] The resolution was approved by the United Nations Security Council on the 11th of August 2006.[21] It was asked to the Hezbollah and Israeli forces to stop the hostilities.[22] The resolution was accepted by both sides and the cease-fire took effect the 14th of August.[21]

In addition, the Resolution included the establishment of a "buffer zone" between Israel and Lebanon.[23] It called for the deployment of the Lebanese Army in the South of the country with the assistance of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon.[22] In parallel, the Israeli military forces were asked to withdraw from the Lebanon.[22]

Hezbollah perception[change | change source]

Following the cease-fire, the Hezbollah side typically framed the war as a victory.[24] During and after the war, they created posters and other propaganda spreading the message of a "divine victory".[14][25]

Israel perception[change | change source]

The Israeli government claimed victory over Hezbollah.[26] However over the years, the conflict has increasingly been considered a defeat.[6]

Consequences[change | change source]

Human consequences[change | change source]

The war resulted in the death of 1,109 Lebanese and the injury of 4,399 persons.[4] As for Israel, about 159 Israelis were killed during the conflict and 1,500 were injured.[27]

In addition to the numerous people killed, the fighting also resulted in the displacement of over a million of Lebanese.[5] Additionally, between 300,000 and 500,000 Israeli citizens were relocated to other parts of the country.[27]

The bodies of the two Israeli soldiers who were abducted at the start of the conflict were returned two years later on July 16th, 2008.[28] This was part of the 2008 Israel-Hezbollah prisoner exchange in which Israel also returned Lebanese prisoners and the bodies of nearly 200 fighters who had been captured.[29]

Material consequences[change | change source]

In light of the number of air strikes and rockets launched during the 34 days of war, there was significant material damage. The estimated damages for Lebanon were about 3.5 billion U.S. dollars.[27] On the Israeli side, the cost of the damage was estimated to be about 1.5 billion U.S. dollars.[27]

References[change | change source]

  1. "Winograd Commission", Elections A to Z, Washington DC: CQ Press, 2003, doi:10.4135/9781483302775.n303, ISBN 9781568028019, retrieved 2022-04-17
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Clashes spread to Lebanon as Hezbollah raids Israel - International Herald Tribune". 2009-01-29. Archived from the original on 2009-01-29. Retrieved 2022-04-17.
  3. Johnson, David E. (2011). Hard fighting : Israel in Lebanon and Gaza. Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND. ISBN 978-0-8330-5853-9. OCLC 794493907.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Human Right Watch (2007). "Why They Died, Civilian Casualties in Lebanon during the 2006 War".
  5. 5.0 5.1 Secretary-General, United Nations (2017-07-11). "Report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1701 (2006)". {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. 6.0 6.1 Encel, Frédéric (2007). "Guerre libanaise de juillet-août 2006 : mythes et réalités d'un échec militaire israélien". Hérodote (in French). 124 (1): 14. doi:10.3917/her.124.0014. ISSN 0338-487X.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Joseph., Daher (2019). Le Hezbollah : un fondamentalisme religieux à l'épreuve du néolibéralisme. ISBN 978-2-84950-713-1. OCLC 1090060714.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 8.8 Hirst, David (2011). Beware of small states : Lebanon, battleground of the Middle East. Faber. ISBN 978-0-571-23742-5. OCLC 751524259.
  9. Nakhleh, H. (2007). "The 2006 Israeli War on Lebanon: Analysis and Strategic Implications". Lebanese Army-USAWC: 1–34. S2CID 155586147.
  10. Levy, Yagil (2009-06-01). "The Second Lebanon War: Coping with the 'Gap of Legitimacies' Syndrome". Israel Studies Review. 24 (1): 3–24. doi:10.3167/isf.2009.240101. ISSN 2159-0370.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Löwenheim, Oded; Heimann, Gadi (2008-12-09). "Revenge in International Politics". Security Studies. 17 (4): 685–724. doi:10.1080/09636410802508055. ISSN 0963-6412. S2CID 145087092.
  12. Mor, Ben D. (March 2014). "Defining the Ambiguous Situation: Context and Action in the 2006 Lebanon War". Foreign Policy Analysis: n/a. doi:10.1111/fpa.12053.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Corm, Georges (2012). Le Liban contemporain : histoire et société (3rd ed.). Paris: La Découverte. ISBN 978-2-7071-7357-7. OCLC 801063067.
  14. 14.0 14.1 "The Daily Star - July War 2006 Timeline". 2006-09-28. Archived from the original on 2006-09-28. Retrieved 2022-04-17.
  15. S., Lambeth, Benjamin. Air operations in Israel's war against Hezbollah : learning from Lebanon and getting it right in Gaza. OCLC 1114472748.
  16. Kober, Avi (2008-02-01). "The Israel defense forces in the Second Lebanon War: Why the poor performance?". Journal of Strategic Studies. 31 (1): 3–40. doi:10.1080/01402390701785211. ISSN 0140-2390. S2CID 154797201.
  17. Sharp, Jeremy; Blanchard, Christopher; Katzman, Kenneth; Migdalovitz, Carol; Prados, Alfred; Gallis, Paul; Rennack, Dianne; Rollins, John; Browne, Marjorie; Bowman, Steve; Veillette, Connie (2006). "Lebanon: The Israel-Hamas-Hezbollah Conflict" (PDF). CRS Report for Congress.
  18. "Hizballah's Rocket Campaign Against Northern Israel: A Preliminary Report - Uzi Rubin". www.jcpa.org. Retrieved 2022-05-01.
  19. "Mideast War, by the Numbers". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2022-05-05.
  20. Booth, William (2016). "Ten years after last Lebanon war, Israel warns next one will be far worse". Washington Post.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Dubuisson, François (2006). "La Guerre du Liban de l'ete 2006 et le Droit de la Legitime Defense". Revue Belge de Droit International. 2: 529–564.
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 United Nations Security Council. (2006). Resolution 1701 (2006) Adopted by the Security Council at its 5511th meeting, on 11 August 2006. S/RES/1701 (2006). Available at https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N06/465/03/PDF/N0646503.pdf?OpenElement
  23. Salem, Paul (2006). "The Future of Lebanon". Foreign Affairs. 85 (6): 13–22. doi:10.2307/20032139. ISSN 0015-7120. JSTOR 20032139.
  24. Mathilde, Rouxel (2016). "La deuxième guerre du Liban (2006): dix ans après". www.lesclesdumoyenorient.com. Retrieved 2022-04-21.
  25. "A Hezbollah poster in south Lebanon celebrates "divine victory" over Israel in the July 2006 war. Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin-Laden last month criticised Hezbollah for agreeing to the presence of UN peacekeepers in south Lebanon". The New Humanitarian. Retrieved 2022-04-26.
  26. Tür, Özlem (2007). "The Lebanese War of 2006: Reasons and Consequences". Perceptions.
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 27.3 "Background: Facts and figures about 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war - Lebanon". ReliefWeb. Retrieved 2022-05-06.
  28. "Regev and Goldwasser to receive military funerals Thursday - Haaretz - Israel News". 2008-08-14. Archived from the original on 2008-08-14. Retrieved 2022-05-01.
  29. "Hezbollah delivers remains of two Israeli soldiers". Reuters. 2008-07-16. Retrieved 2022-05-02.