2006 Lebanon War: A Middle Eastern Crisis

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In the year of 2006, Israel and the Shia militant group of Lebanon Hezbollah went on for a clash in July in the regions of Lebanon, northern Israel and Golan heights across the different parts of the Middle East. This war is known as the Second Lebanon War in Israel and the July war in Lebanon.

What Happened Between Israel and Lebanon?

The war was fought between the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and the Hezbollah militant group. The whole situation aggravated when the Hezbollah abducted the Israeli army personnel and also air raided along the Lebanon Israel border furthermore affected the Israeli border towns.

Similarly, the Israeli forces retaliated swiftly, which hurt the Hezbollah forces. The Israeli forces attacked and some of the Lebanese people were injured. On the other hand, the Israeli government was reluctant to handover the Lebanese prisoners in return of the Israeli abductions by Hezbollah. They started airstrikes and other warfare means to protect their interests. 

Hezbollah was an Iran backed outfit, so, many political analysts thought it as a proxy Iran Israel war. Also, Iran invested heavily in this war. It led to huge infrastructure collapse on the Lebanese front and also large scale casualties were detected on both sides.

Israel blocked the southern border of Lebanon and started to create air and naval blockade, which created further problems in the Lebanese side. Around one million people were displaced in the Lebanese front and 3 to 5 lakh people were dislodged in the Israeli side. 

Similarly, around 1500 people lost their lives in Lebanon and 170 people were killed on the Israeli front due to this war. The war created great destruction on the Lebanese front than the Israeli side though the border towns were damaged heavily.

How Long Did It Last?

It was a 34-day war, which started on 12 July 2006 and went on till 14th August, when the UN-brokered ceasefire was done but the actual war ended on September 8, 2006, when Israel formally lifted there naval blockade.

What Happened Next?

On the day of 11th August 2008, the United Nations decided on making a ceasefire work and that was agreed by both parties of Israel as well as Lebanon. A United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon was deployed in southern Lebanon to broker the ceasefire. The government of Lebanon and the UN also decided not to disarm Hezbollah.

In a phased manner, the Israeli army withdrew from southern Lebanon. The Lebanon army was deployed in southern Lebanon so that Hezbollah could not use their ground for extremist activities. 

The naval blockade was lifted on the 8th of September 2008 from the Israeli front and peace was somehow restored. The abducted Israeli soldiers were returned to the Israeli side through a prisoner exchange program on 16 July 2008.

When Did It All Start?

Tensions between Lebanon and Israel is a very ancient affair, which means it is not a sudden upheaval. The Palestine crisis of 1968 created some tensions in the Lebanese front. During that time, there was the creation of a Shia militant group to support the Palestine cause that got named as Hezbollah. 

In the 1982 Lebanon war, Israel tried to invade large parts of Lebanon but later withdrew due to the United States intervention. 

What Happened in the July War Then?

Now in this war (the July war), Lebanon was completely devastated though in a very random manner. Most of the casualties were against Lebanese civilians, as around 30% of these casualties were of children below the age of 13. 

A huge amount of destruction related to infrastructure and industries were reported and large scale displacement was also recorded in the southern Lebanese coastal regions. The estimates of casualties of Hezbollah people were very hard to trace, as Hezbollah officially did not disclose any number.

Albeit lately, they issued a notice that 70 of their members died. Some say that the Hezbollah estimates of casualties were inflated, through the correct figures could not be predicted as they mostly were in civilian uniform, so, it was difficult to trace their origin. 

Similarly, the border Israeli town of Haifa was heavily damaged with around 44 people getting affected by the war and rocket bombings. But the ceasefire by the United Nations helped to avert the large-scale humanitarian crisis in the Middle Eastern country of Lebanon.

Written by - Bodhiswatta Mukherjee
Edited by - Ivanova

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