Thursday, November 14, 2013


To deal with the huge influx of Palestinian refugees into Lebanon, the 1969 Cairo Agreement was crafted which gave the precursor PLO jurisdiction over camps of Palestinian refugees previously under the rule of the Lebanese government. It also gave the right to Palestinians to pursue an armed struggle against Israel. Thus the refugee camps became the base of the PLO and there developed a 'state within a state' situation in S Lebanon. The Sunni Palestinians in their hundreds of thousands caused an imbalance in the Confessional domestic political system which exists in Lebanon. The presence of the PLO contributed to national tensions and triggered the Israeli occupations/ attacks on Lebanon in the 1970s and 80s. The Cairo Agreement was repealed by the Lebanese government in 1987. A good book about this is:
Cobban, Helena (1984). The Palestinian Liberation Organisation: People, Power, and Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

US-Lebanese relations
 Israel was at war in Lebanon during the 1970s  causing high civilian death toll and damage to Lebanon’s economy, particularly in the largely Shiite southern part of the country, where there were PLO camps.  Israel had attacked Lebanon because it had PLO fighters on its territory. The PLO had been formed as a resistance army and political party against Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. President Carter in 1978 backed a UNSC resolution condemning the Israeli attack. In 1981, after Israel had bombed a heavily populated neighborhood in Beirut, President Reagan brokered a cease fire. However, in 1982, Israel continued to bomb Beirut and the US reversed its position and backed Israel. In 1982, the US brokered an agreement in which the PLO had to evacuate to Tunisia. The US then withdrew. Right wing Lebanese  Phalangists took advantage of this withdrawal, and  massacred over 1,000 civilians under the watch of Israeli occupation forces in 2 refugee camps.

The Hezbollah (Party of God) emerged in the early 1980s as a Shia Islamic militant organization that was formed as an armed resistance to Israeli occupations and attacks in Lebanon. Today, there are Hezbollah members in the Lebanese Parliament.

The US had supported the Phalangists and the  Israeli invasion in 1982, after Carter. In April 1983, suicide bombers struck the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, killing 63 people. US forces returned and the fighting between the Lebanese resistance to the Israeli occupation, and US forces continued. US forces finally withdrew in 1984.

The historian Stephen Zunes (U of San Francisco) quotes  Jimmy Carter in an interview with the New York Times, in regard to Lebanon, “We bombed and shelled and unmercifully killed totally innocent villagers, women and children and farmers and housewives, in those villages around Beirut. As a result, we have become a kind of Satan in the minds of those who are deeply resentful. That is what precipitated the taking of hostages and that is what has precipitated some terrorist attacks.”

I havn't been able to find the original interview..

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