News materials: The Fifth Middle East War (1982)

  -Israel invaded Lebanon

  On June 6, 1982, on the pretext that its ambassador to Britain was assassinated by Palestinian guerrillas, Israel dispatched more than 100,000 army, navy and air force to launch a large-scale attack on the Palestine Liberation Organization guerrillas and Syrian troops in Lebanon. It took only a few days to occupy half of Lebanon. This is the biggest war between Israel and Arab countries since the death of four Middle East wars, and it is called the "Fifth Middle East War".

  War background

  Generally speaking, the cause of the Lebanon-Israel war is still the continuation of the Palestinian dispute. The main purpose of Israel’s invasion of Lebanon is to destroy the Palestine Liberation Organization, seek to establish a pro-Israel regime in Lebanon and crowd out Syrian troops in Lebanon.

  In order to establish their own country, the Palestinians established the Palestine Liberation Organization in May 1964 and launched a war with Israel. The PLO guerrillas are based in neighboring Arab countries, mainly in Syria and Lebanon. In 1970, the headquarters of the PLO and the main guerrilla force led by it entered Lebanon from Jordan, and later directly intervened in Lebanon’s domestic struggle, propped up and armed Islamic forces, and cracked down on pro-Israel Christian forces, gradually taking control of southern Lebanon and Beirut, the capital, and becoming a "country within a country". And build military facilities, attack and shell northern Israel from time to time, especially in the fourth Middle East War, the PLO guerrillas assisted Egyptian and Syrian troops to launch guerrilla warfare and attacked Israeli military bases, warehouses and radar stations. Become a menace to Israel.

  In 1982, Israel felt that the time had come: first, the war between Britain and Oman broke out and became the focus of international attention; Secondly, the Iran-Iraq war continues, and the two countries have no time to take care of it. There are contradictions between Arab countries that support Iran and Iraq, and the Arab world has been torn apart; Third, the domestic situation in Syria, which may support and cooperate with the PLO in the war, is unstable, and there are also contradictions between Palestine and Syria; Fourth, we can use the pro-Israeli forces in Lebanon-Christian armed forces; Fifth, after the return of Sinai Peninsula, Egypt and Israel have reached a settlement, and Egypt will not get involved in the war.

  Military forces of all parties before the war

  I. Armed forces in Lebanon

  1. PLO Armed Forces

  The PLO armed forces are mainly PLO guerrillas, with a total of about 25,000 people (including 6,000 field troops), which are organized into 50 battalions, 300 tanks, 300 armored vehicles and 1,100 guns.

  Distribution of main forces: there are about 6,000 troops in the western part of Beirut, 8,000 troops in various positions in the south, 5,000 troops in the Bekaa Valley, and the rest are deployed in northern Lebanon. The PLO guerrillas have more than 400 warehouses in southern Lebanon, storing a large number of weapons, ammunition and other military supplies.

  2. Syrian Army in Lebanon

  2 armored brigades, 2 mechanized infantry brigades, 1 assault battalion and air defense units, totaling 30,000 people. After the war broke out, four more brigades were invested, bringing the total strength to 46,000, with 900 tanks, 600 armored vehicles and 350 planes.

  The main forces are subordinate to Bekaa Valley, Jazzin Region and Shufu Mountain. Some troops are stationed in Beirut West Zone, Tripoli and major towns along the strategic road from Beirut to Damascus.

  3. United Nations peacekeeping forces

  It consists of 7,000 troops from France, the Netherlands, Norway, Fiji and Nepal, and is stationed on the common border between Lebanon and Israel.

  4. Lebanese government forces and various armed forces

  There are more than 23,700 Lebanese government troops, including one mechanized infantry brigade, one armed reconnaissance battalion, nine infantry battalions, one artillery battalion, more than 200 armored vehicles and 230 guns. In addition, it is also equipped with "Milan" and "Tao" anti-tank missiles. It is mainly stationed in the eastern part of Beirut and parts of northwest Lebanon.

  In addition to government forces, there are more than 40 armed forces in Lebanon, mainly including:

  (1) The Muslims armed Shiites, Druze and Sunnis, with a total of about 20,000 full-time armed personnel, are in opposition to the Christian Pike Party.

  (2) haddad militia is a pro-Israel force, with about 36,000 people, deployed in the 8-10 km zone of Lebanon on the border with Israel.

  (3) The Christian Phalangist militia, led by Bacher Gemayel, has more than 40,000 people, and is stationed in the east of Beirut, north of Beirut-Damascus highway and northwest Lebanon.

  Second, the Israeli army

  There are 15 brigades, more than 100,000 people, 1,500 tanks, 1,500 armored vehicles, 400 planes and more than 20 ships.

  War course

  In the first stage (June 4-13), Israel launched a full-scale attack, and the PLO and the Syrian army suffered heavy blows, and the Israeli army surrounded the western part of Beirut.

  On June 4, Israel dispatched planes to attack Beirut and the PLO guerrilla base in southern Lebanon.

  At 11 o’clock on June 6, the Israeli army dispatched four brigades with about 20,000 people. After five hours of artillery and aviation fire preparation, with the support of helicopter gunships, naval, air and artillery fire, it launched a sudden attack on the PLO guerrillas in the west, middle and east on the front of 53 kilometers wide.

  1, the ground forces attack

  The West Road is the main direction of the Israeli army, and has invested more than five brigades. The first echelon, with two armored brigades, each with 200 tanks and armored vehicles, set out from Nahariya and Rushhanikla, surrounded Sur in Nakura and Bint Jubail through the areas controlled by haddad militia and United Nations forces, and launched siege fighting with the cooperation of airborne troops and landing troops and Lebanese haddad militia. At that night, it carried out street fighting and was attacked by the PLO guerrillas. Two brigades of the second echelon (an armored brigade and a mechanized brigade) entered the battle at 1800 hours, and one of them moved eastward to cooperate with the middle road; A brigade marched northward to encircle the PLO guerrillas south of the Litani River. On the 8th, the third echelon of the Israeli army entered the battle, continued to attack the north and surrounded Damour. However, to the south of the city, Saadia, only 19 kilometers away from Beirut, was stubbornly resisted by the PLO guerrillas, and its northward advance was blocked. On the 9th, West Road Israeli troops occupied Sidon and Damour, and landed in Halda with a battalion of troops. When the PLO troops retreated from Damour, they blew up the bridge. On the 10th, the Israeli army, consisting of 6 brigades, 35,000 men and more than 300 tanks, with the cooperation of Christian right-wing militia from the north, besieged Beirut and bombed Beirut’s western and southern suburbs international airports in turn. Israeli ships blocked Beirut from the sea. The PLO made great efforts to strengthen the defense in Beirut West Area and repelled the Israeli attack at the international airport and Halda area. The PLO armed forces killed Major General Yekutiel Adam, the commander-in-chief and deputy chief of staff of the Israeli army near Damour. On the 11th,The main force of the Israeli army arrived near Beirut International Airport, and the other part fought against the Syrian army. In order to negotiate with the PLO, Syria declared a ceasefire with Israel according to Israeli conditions when the PLO was in extreme difficulties, and the ceasefire took effect at 12 o’clock local time. Since then, Syria and Israel have stopped fighting. On the 12th, the Israeli army continued to attack the PLO position in the southern suburbs of Beirut, which met with stubborn resistance from the PLO armed forces. At 19: 00 GMT, the ceasefire between Israel and Palestine came into effect. Seven hours later, the two sides opened fire again. On the 13th, the Israeli army entered the eastern part of Beirut, and immediately, with the cooperation of the Phalangist militia, the Israeli army surrounded about 8,000 PLO guerrillas in the western and southern parts of Beirut.

  With the middle road as the direction of assist, a brigade, the first echelon of the Israeli army, set out from Shemola area on the morning of 6th, crossed Haldali, surrounded Fort Shojaei, and the main force Nabatiyah attacked. On the afternoon of the same day, the Israeli army began to storm Fort Shojaei and conquered it at dawn on 7th. An armored brigade of the second echelon entered the battle, besieged Nabatiyah with the cooperation of paratroopers, and broke into the city at 9: 00 on the 7 th. A small number of troops started street fighting with the PLO guerrillas, and the main force continued to advance northward, and the day before yesterday, it went out to Jiejin area. With the cooperation of the Israeli army on the East Road, after the capture of Jiejin City, they divided into two roads, all the way west, and participated in the siege of Zahrani and Saida; Journey to the south, attacking Syrian armored forces in Shufu area, launched a tank battle with Syrian army there. The Syrian army lost 150 tanks. On the 9th, Israeli troops parachuted near Aindala. With the cooperation of airborne troops, the ground troops captured Aindala, and then took control of the Beirut-Damascus highway.

  East Road is the containment direction, and an armored brigade of the first echelon of the Israeli army launched an attack on Sheba. Later, it developed an attack on the Bekaa Valley, containing and monitoring this direction, and cutting off the ties between the PLO guerrillas and the Syrian army. On the 7th, after the first echelon captured Sheba, the second echelon entered into battle and launched an attack on Hasyaba. After succeeding, it launched an attack on Syrian defensive positions in Lasia and Kaukaba. On the 8th, after capturing the towns of Lasia and Kaukaba, they marched northward along the west side of Bekaa Valley, pointing to the last section of Beirut-Damascus Highway, in an attempt to cut off the Syrian army’s retreat and block reinforcements. On the 10th, the Israeli army fought fiercely with the Syrian army in the east of Lake Karun, killing an armored brigade of the Syrian army. From September 9 to 11, Syria lost about 150 tanks in the battle.

  2. Air combat in Bekaa Valley

  In order to seize the air superiority, Israel decided to attack Syria’s missile base in Bekaa Valley to eliminate its air defense capability. This is also one of the main purposes of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon.

  Bekaa Valley is located in the eastern part of Lebanon near the Syrian border. It is a long and narrow strip from south to north. The mountains on both sides of the valley are continuous and the terrain is dangerous. The main ground troops stationed in Lebanon are deployed here. In order to protect this unit from Israeli air strikes, Syria has deployed air defense units with Sam-6 missiles as the main equipment in the Bekaa Valley since May 1981.

  At about 2 pm on June 9, the Israeli army dispatched 96 F-15 and F-16 fighter planes for high-altitude cover, and under the command of E-2C early warning aircraft, F-4 and A-4 attack planes bombed the missile base in the Bekaa Valley violently.

  When the Syrian army learned of the Israeli air raid, it dispatched more than 60 MiG-21 and MiG-23 fighter jets from all over the country, gathered in Bekaa, and launched an air battle with the Israeli army. Due to the electronic interference of the Israeli army, the Syrian army aircraft lost contact with the ground after taking off, and the anti-aircraft missiles also lost control after launching. The quality and equipment of Israeli pilots were better than those of the Syrian Air Force, and they took the initiative in the air. However, the Syrian Air Force was inflexible in tactics and relied too much on the command of the ground command post, resulting in passive beatings in the air. On the first day of air combat, the Israeli army destroyed 19 positions of Syrian air defense missile company and shot down 29 Syrian aircraft. On the 10th, the Israeli army dispatched 92 planes of various types to attack the Syrian army’s Lebanese command post and the nearby air defense missile base. The Syrian army took off 52 planes to fight, and as a result, 25 planes were shot down and 7 air defense missile companies were destroyed. Syria has been operating in the Bekaa Valley for more than 10 years, and the air defense system costing $2 billion was destroyed, while Israel lost only 10 aircraft, including 6 drones and helicopters.

  It took only eight days (June 6-13) for the Israeli army to advance more than 90 kilometers, occupy about 3,000 square kilometers of Lebanese territory, destroy all the bases of the PLO guerrillas in southern Lebanon, wipe out a large number of PLO effective forces, seize all the PLO warehouses in southern Lebanon, and surround the PLO headquarters with 2,000 people and 5,000 armed men in the west and south of Beirut. At the same time, it dealt a heavy blow to the Syrian army.

  In the second stage (June 14th-September 15th), the PLO withdrew from the west area of Beirut, and the Israeli army won.

  On June 14th, after fierce fighting, the Israeli army took control of the runway of the international airport. On June 16th, with the cooperation of the Phalangist militia, the Israeli army captured the Science College Building, an important stronghold for controlling the airport. On the 17th, the Israeli army shelled the international airport and nearby areas, took control of Hadile International Airport, and further reduced the siege of the PLO headquarters. On the 18th, the Israeli army announced a ceasefire to the besieged PLO, but demanded that it lay down its arms and withdraw from Beirut, which was rejected by the PLO. On the 22nd, the Israeli army attacked the Syrian army again, and occupied Hamdoon, forcing the Syrian army to retreat, thus tightly controlling the west area of Beirut.

  From June 26th, the Israeli army continued to strengthen its troops surrounding the West Beirut and its defense against the Syrian army. By July 18th, the troops surrounding the West Beirut had increased to about 35,000 men in seven brigades, with about 700 tanks and 710 large-caliber artillery pieces. Trying to cooperate with political negotiations with military pressure, forcing the PLO to withdraw from Beirut West Area.

  On June 27th, the seventh emergency special session of the General Assembly adopted a resolution demanding that Israel cease fire immediately and withdraw its troops from Lebanon unconditionally. At this time, in order to preserve its strength, the PLO agreed to leave Beirut West. On the 28th, the PLO put forward three conditions for Israel to withdraw from Lebanon: (1) Israeli troops should withdraw 5 kilometers from the south of Beirut; (2) Keeping a symbolic Palestinian military unit in the Lebanese army; (3) Keep the political structure of the PLO in Beirut. Israel rejected these three conditions, demanding that relevant PLO groups must surrender their arms to the Lebanese Army and all PLO members should withdraw from Beirut and Lebanon. On July 6, the PLO refused to be escorted by the US military, demanding that a multinational peace force be deployed in Beirut to escort the PLO armed forces to evacuate safely. On August 1st, the Israeli army captured the international airport, entered the museum area in the west area of Beirut on the 4th, surrounded the PLO headquarters building on the 5th, and bombed the PLO headquarters building on the 6th. During this period, the Israeli army also bombed the Bekaa Valley.

  On August 12th, PLO announced its willingness to withdraw from Beirut West Zone. From August 21st to September 1st, more than 12,000 PLO headquarters and guerrillas were evacuated from Beirut West Zone to eight Arab countries including Jordan, Iraq, Tunisia, Sudan, Syria, Algeria, South Yemen and North Yemen. 25,000 Syrian soldiers stationed in Beirut West also withdrew to Bekaa Valley on August 30th and September 1st. From 21 to 25, French, American and Italian soldiers of the multinational force arrived in Beirut in batches to perform the task of guarding the withdrawal of the PLO and Syrian troops from the western part of Beirut. On September 10-13, the multinational forces also left Lebanon one after another.

  On September 15th, the Israeli army moved into the west area of Beirut on the grounds that Lebanese President Bacher Gemayel was killed. Under the pressure of international public opinion, on September 29, the Israeli army withdrew, and multinational peace forces returned to Beirut West District to maintain order. But a large number of Israeli troops still occupy it. After five months of negotiations, Lebanon and Israel signed a withdrawal agreement. However, both Syria and the PLO opposed this agreement and the agreement was abolished. Since then, the Israeli army has unilaterally withdrawn from Lebanon in batches.

  In this war, more than 3,000 people were killed or injured in the saline-alkali land of the PLO, more than 100 tanks were destroyed, 500 guns were fired, and more than 400 secret warehouses were occupied. The Syrian army suffered more than 1,000 casualties, lost more than 400 tanks and 58 aircraft.

  (Excerpted from The Story of Major World Military Events after World War II, edited by Xie Zhaohui and Luo Qingwang)

Editor: Wang Yuxi