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Timeline: At war for decades, Lebanon and Israel edge towards a rare deal

October 11, 2022 at 7:31 pm

Israeli Navy vessels patrol Mediterranean waters off Israel’s crossing at Rosh Hanikra, known in Lebanon as Ras al-Naqura, a border area between the two coutries, on October 4, 2022 [JALAA MAREY/AFP via Getty Images]

Lebanon and Israel appeared close to clinching a US-mediated agreement defining a disputed maritime boundary on Tuesday, in what would be a landmark compromise between countries with a history of war.

Israeli Prime Minister said a “historic agreement” had been reached in the indirect talks. Lebanese President, Michel Aoun, said the latest US draft satisfied Lebanon and he hoped the deal would be announced as soon as possible.

Here is a timeline of conflict between the States:


Lebanon fights alongside other Arab States against the nascent State of Israel. Some 100,000 Palestinians who fled, or were expelled from their homes in Palestine during the war, arrive in Lebanon as refugees.


Lebanon and Israel conclude an armistice agreement under UN auspices.


Israeli commandos destroyed a dozen passenger planes at Beirut Airport, a response to an attack on an Israeli airliner by a Lebanon-based Palestinian group.


Israel invades south Lebanon and sets up an occupation zone in an operation against Palestinian guerrillas.


Israel invades all the way to Beirut. The Syrian army is ousted from Beirut, and thousands of Palestinian fighters, under Yasser Arafat, are evacuated by sea after a bloody 10-week siege.

Israel’s ally and head of Christian militia Lebanese Forces, Bashir Gemayel, is elected President but killed before taking office. Hundreds of civilians in the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila are massacred by Christian militiamen allowed in by Israeli troops.

Bashir’s brother, Amin Gemayel, becomes President.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards establish Hezbollah in Lebanon.


The Gemayel government signs an Accord with Israel. The terms include ending hostilities and mutual recognition of independence. But implementation hinges on a Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon. Damascus and its Lebanese allies reject the agreement, rendering it still-born.


Israel establishes an Occupation zone in southern Lebanon, about 15 km (nine miles) deep, after it pulled back from a line further north, controlling the area with a proxy force, the South Lebanon Army.


Israel mounts the 17-day “Operation Grapes of Wrath” offensive that kills more than 200 people in Lebanon, including 102 who die when Israel shells a UN base near the south Lebanon village of Qana.


Israel withdraws from southern Lebanon, ending 22 years of occupation.


In July, Hezbollah crosses the border into Israel, kidnaps two Israeli soldiers and kills others, sparking a five-week war. While most of the conflict is fought on land, an Israeli navy vessel is damaged in a Hezbollah missile attack. At least 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians, and 158 Israelis, mostly soldiers, are killed.


The United States revives indirect negotiations between Lebanon and Israel, aimed at reaching an agreement on their disputed maritime boundary, with the aim of facilitating oil and gas exploration. Indirect US-mediated talks first began years earlier, but never reached a conclusion.


Israeli Prime Minister, Yair Lapid, says US mediation has clinched a deal with Lebanon, demarcating the maritime boundary, calling it a historic agreement. Lebanese President, Michel Aoun, says the draft satisfies Lebanese demands and expresses hope a deal can be announced as soon as possible.

Lebanon warns Israel against aggressive action in their disputed waters – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]