Israel And Lebanon
Sir, - As Piaras MacEinri correctly says (March 12th) the presence of Palestinian guerillas preceded that of "militant Islamic groups" vide infra. However, in his description of UN resolution 425 he states that Israel invaded Lebanon. In fact Israel's reason for entry in 1982 was self-preservation. No, the real invasion of Lebanon was carried out six years earlier by Hafez Al-Assad who forcefully occupied the land claiming it as part of "Greater Syria". Initially, Syria entered Lebanon to quell PLO domination and was pro-Christian. However, after securing its grip over the country, Syria later co-operated with the PLO against Christian communities. In late 1976 the Syria/PLO occupation was so extensive, killing and destruction so widespread, that Lebanon virtually ceased existing as an independent nation.
Israel's entry into Lebanon was understandable after 14 years of PLO attacks on northern Israel. Also, with massive Soviet backing, Lebanon was becoming a training ground for international terrorism. Israel later uncovered there weapons sufficient for an army of 150,000 from almost every arms-dealing nation in the world!
Israel subsequently withdrew, due mainly to US pressure, to a narrow strip in South Lebanon, the "security zone", where Israel has remained purely for defensive reasons. Since this time Syria has been allowed to tighten its hold on the country. Iranian - and Syrian - supported Hizb' Allah have pushed forward attempting to rid the "security zone" of Israeli and Christian South Lebanese armies in addition to mounting numerous rocket attacks on Northern Israel. Reasonably, Israel has set the dismantling of Hizb' Allah as a precondition to reaching a peace accord with Lebanon. - Yours, etc., Dr Steve Harris,
Broadford Crescent, Ballinteer, Dublin 16.