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WAR IN LEBANON Israel launched Operation "Peace for the Galilee", to rid Lebanon of its PLO stronghold. But Israel became mired in Lebanon for three years and its forces suffered over 600 casualties.
After being thrown out of Jordan in 1970 the PLO established a base of operations in Lebanon. In the ensuing years, the terror group transformed Israel's heretofore peaceful border with Lebanon into a site of major confrontation. Israel had launched a number of limited actions against PLO bases in Lebanon.By 1982, Lebanon was deeply involved in a Civil War between Christians and Muslims, with the PLO playing an active role. At the same time, the PLO increased its attacks on Israel. Israel's Defense Minister Ariel Sharon decided to take decisive actions against the PLO and using the excuse of a PLO attack on Israel's Ambassador to the UK, Israel launched a massive assault against the PLO in Southern Lebanon. That attack led to a short but decisive confrontation with Syria, in which Syria lost 81 planes and its entire anti-aircraft defenses. Israelis troops pursued the Palestinians all the way to Beirut which they laid seige for a number of months. Finally in a brokered deal, the PLO leadership led by Yasser Arafat agreed to be exhiled to Tunis. Subsequently the leader of the Phalange (Christian militias) who had become President was assasinated. In revenge Phalagne fighters entered a Palestinian refugee camp nominally in an area controlled by Israel, and massacred 300 people. A mulinational force ledby the United States entered Lebanon to try to maintain peace. Israel slowly withdrew from most of Lebanon with the exception of a 10 mile buffer zone in the South, which it unilaterally evacuated in 2000.