3 WIA 8–50 KIA|
Combatants Israel, Hezbollah
|Dates 25 Jul 1993 – 31 Jul 1993|
|Result Cease fire on civilian targets; much Lebanese infrastructure destroyed.|
Similar Operation Grapes of Wrath, 1978 South Lebanon conflict, Siege of Beirut, Operation Wooden Leg, Operation Summer Rains
On July 25, 1993, Israeli forces launched a week-long attack against Lebanon named Operation Accountability in Israel and the Seven-Day War in Lebanon. Israel specified three purposes to the operation, to strike directly at Hezbollah, to make it difficult for Hezbollah to use southern Lebanon as a base for striking Israel, and to displace refugees in the hopes of pressuring the Lebanese government to intervene against Hezbollah. The affected civilian population included both Lebanese and Palestinian refugees.
- Operation accountability
- Couponers unite operation accountability baby
- Historical background
- Casus belli
- Violations of the laws of war
Couponers unite operation accountability baby
During the Lebanese Civil War, Hezbollah was among several militant groups formed in response to the Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon. Though chiefly funded by Iran, and later Syria, Hezbollah was believed to be receiving refuge from Lebanon.
When the Taif Agreement was created, it amended the Lebanese constitution to end the civil war, and disband all Lebanese militias. Argument then arose over whether Hezbollah's existence in Lebanon displayed a failure of the government, a blind eye, or clandestine support. Hezbollah launched a public relations campaign, political statements and a political program. As a result, the Lebanese government classified Hezbollah's military wing, the "Islamic Resistance" as a resistance movement and not as a militia. Thus, the organization was exempted from disbanding and disarming.
The Taif accord asked for an Israeli withdrawal based on UN Resolution 425 but explicitly allowed resistance against the Israeli occupation "by all means", including militarily. Hezbollah stated that it would continue to oppose Israeli occupation as a "resistance group", since they were actually protected by the agreement. Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah secretary general, also declared that while the Taif Agreement was a cessation of the Lebanese Civil War, Hezbollah had never involved itself in that war, and only existed to fight the foreign troops stationed in the country.
In late June 1993, Hezbollah launched rockets against an Israeli village, and the following month attacks by both Hezbollah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command killed five Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers inside the occupied territory. These actions are generally considered to have been the catalyst for Operation Accountability.
The IDF force included artillery, warships, and bombers. Hezbollah is known to have used mortars and rockets. The SLA, which was cooperating with the IDF, broadcast radio warnings for civilians to leave specific villages and the region on its radio station.
Violations of the laws of war
According to Human Rights Watch and other human rights organizations, both sides in the conflict violated the laws of war by attacking civilian targets.
During the week-long operation, Israel bombarded thousands of houses and buildings resulting in 300,000 civilians being displaced from southern Lebanon towards Beirut and other areas. Israeli forces also destroyed much Lebanese infrastructure and civilian targets, such as major electricity stations and bridges, and have been accused of failing to take adequate measures to minimize civilian casualties, and may have used weapons inappropriate for the environment.
Hezbollah retaliated with rocket attacks on Israeli civilian targets, though it inflicted significantly fewer casualties. They were also accused of hiding small arms in civilian houses.
Ultimately, Israel declared that it attacked Hezbollah targets only to pressure Hezbollah to stop attacking Israeli civilians – while Hezbollah declared similar motive for their attacks along with liberating of Southern Lebanon.
A ceasefire was reached after a week, negotiated by the United States, in a form of an oral agreement. Global Security, a US-based organization that attempts to provide accurate facts without opinion, wrote: "An oral agreement was reached whereby Israel agreed to refrain from attacking civilian targets in Lebanon while the Hizballah pledged to stop firing rockets into northern Israel."
However, that agreement was not completely respected. The next major engagement, Operation Grapes of Wrath, occurred in April 1996.
In addition to the deaths of 118 Lebanese civilians, a disputed number of Hezbollah combatants were also killed. Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri said that eight had been killed, while Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin claimed more than fifty. There were two Israeli civilians killed by Hezbollah rocket attacks. One Israeli soldier was killed, and three wounded.
In May 2000, Israel left all of the Lebanese occupied territories, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 425, twenty-two years after the adoption of that resolution.