In late May, Israel completed its redeployment along the international border when all of its soldiers were withdrawn from Lebanon. Following the pullback, tranquility reigned along the border, as Hezbollah and Israeli troops refrained from attacking one another. If such calm persists, south Lebanon will reap the fruits of a massive reconstruction program, the effects of which will trickle down throughout the nation’s economy.
Israel’s ultimate withdrawal followed months of escalating tensions. Once Israel formally notified the United Nations that it would pull its troops from South Lebanon, retaliatory attacks between Israeli troops and Lebanese resistance guerillas intensified. The mid-February Hizbullah missile attack on the Israel Defense Forces' (IDF) Beaufort Castle position in southern Lebanon killed the seventh Israeli soldier within a three-week period. In response to these casualties, Israeli warplanes carried out bombing raids throughout Lebanon. These strikes hit three power transformation stations in Baalbek to the east, in Jamhour near Beirut, and in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli. The Israeli offensive also hit areas to the west of Baalbek, where Hizbullah bases were situated. The attack on Jamhour (Beirut's primary source of electricity) plunged Beirut, in addition to most of the state's other major cities, into darkness.
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)