In 1978 Palestinian guerrillas, from their base in Lebanon, launched an air raid on Israel; in retaliation, Israel sent troops into S Lebanon to occupy a strip 4–6 mi (6–10 km) deep and thus protect Israel's border. Eventually a UN peacekeeping force was set up there, but occasional fighting continued. In 1982 Israel launched a massive attack to destroy all military bases of the Palestine Liberation Organization in S Lebanon and, after a 10-week siege of the Muslim sector of West Beirut, a PLO stronghold, forced the Palestinians to accept a U.S.-sponsored plan whereby the PLO guerrillas would evacuate Beirut and go to several Arab countries that had agreed to accept them. Israel withdrew from Lebanon in 1985 but continues to maintain a Lebanese-Christian–policed buffer zone north of its border.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.