Lebanon: Israel-Hamas-Hezbollah Conflict

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  • Topic: Israel, Lebanon, Palestine Liberation Organization
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Israel-Hamas-Hezbollah Conflict in Lebanon

Introduction
The Republic of Lebanon is a small Middle Eastern nation on the eastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea. It became an independent republic in 1943, but its history is thousands of years older. Historians have found evidence that people lived in the region in pre-historic times. Lebanon’s earliest known inhabitants, the Canaanites, settled the land in about 3000 B.C. The Canaanites were followed by the Phoenicians, who moved into the region in about 2500 B.C (Goldstein, 2005: 4).

From their cities along the Mediterranean seacoast, the Phoenicians became a great trading people. The Phoenicians also were the one who have developed a writing system which had been the basis for the modern Roman alphabet. But due to lack of centralized government or a strong leader, the country had been vulnerable to foreign conquerors. As a result, the area that would become Lebanon was conquered first by the Egyptians, followed by the Greeks, Arabs, Christians, and several other foreign powers.

Lebanon just finally won its independence in the mid 20th century. Right after their declaration of independence, the new nation faced many struggles including the faction of religion between Muslims and Christians wherein these groups held contrasting cultural and political views (Goldstein, 2005: 5). Christians had ties with the United States and other Western nations, whereas Muslims sided with the Middle East in which the conflict between these two groups had lead to several chaotic events and one of these would be the Israel-Hamas-Hezbollah Conflict. History of the Conflict

The conflict stated earlier is between Israel and two (2) U.S. State Department-designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs), the Lebanese Shiite Muslim group Hezbollah and the radical Palestinian Hamas Organization. The localized conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip which happened on July 12, 2006 has instantly became a regional conflagration after Hezbollah captured two (2) Israeli soldiers in surprise attack along the Israeli-Lebanese border. In response, Israel carried out air strikes against suspected Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, which was followed by a counter attack from Hezbollah which sent rocket attacks against Israel, targeting Israel’s cities and towns in its northern part.

In order for the Israel to be able to push the forces of Hezbollah back from its border, the Israel had launched a full-scale ground operation in Lebanon with the hopes of establishing a security zone that is free of Hezbollah militants. On the other side of the picture, the Israeli also has a continuous clash with Hamas and other Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.

There has been a risk of repetition in terms of clashes and attacks between these said parties and this risk was due to the absence of comprehensive peace agreements between Israel and the Palestinians, Lebanon, and Syria; particularly along Israel’s northern front, achieving peace between the major parties has been an elusive goal. It has grown even more complex with the rising influence of non-state political movements and/or terrorist organizations (i.e. Hezbollah and Hamas) on Lebanon’s southern border. Neither organization recognizes Israel’s right to exist as a nation-state.

The 2006 war in Lebanon is the latest manifestation of conflict along the Israeli-Lebanese-Syrian border, the final demarcation of which has long been in dispute and is exacerbate by the technical/formal state of war that exists between Israel and its two northern neighbors. On the Lebanese side of the border, historically weak, usually Christian/Sunni-led governments paid scant attention to the southern portion of the country, a predominately Shiite area. Without much of an economy or government military presence in the south, the region was prone to penetration by outside groups opposed to Israel until the Shiites residing there formed their own...
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