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THE SECURITY ZONE IN SOUTH LEBANON

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Security  Zone: Area of South Lebanon running parallel to the Israel-Lebanon border. Its’ length in a straight line from the slopes of Mt. Hermon till the Mediterranean Sea is 90 km. Practically, due to the winding route of the border, its’ length was 120 km. The width of the zone varied from a mere 3 km at Zarit and from Metula to the knee of Litani river, up to 25 km from Metula to the pass at Kafr Khuna. The area  of the Security  Zone was some 1000 km.

The zone formed on the foundation of Christian enclaves formed by the Lebanese army in 1976. One enclave ,round Marg-Ayoun (opposite Metula) was under the command of major  Saad Hadad  and the second ,in Rumeish/Dibel, under the command of major  Sami Shidyak (opposite Biranit in the center section). As the two enclaves were cut off the Christian centre in the north-the two commanders turned to ‘IDF’ for support, which was granted. These two enclaves were enlarged into a territorial continuity after the ‘Litany’ operation in 1978, and included, since, a large Shiite population.

Stretching of the zone to it’s measurements was a result of the Israeli government decision from January 1985 .This widening brought to a meaningful enlargement of Shiite population, additional Druz and Sunnite Moslims to the human mosaic. The zone’s population numbered on 05/1999 some 100,000 –70 % Shiite, 10% Christians, 10 % Druz and the rest Sunnite Muslims. At its’ formation in 1985 there were 160,000 inhabitants.

The goal of the security zone –as stated by Chief of Israeli Army (IDF) staff ( General Moshe Levi) on 05/10/1985 was to -“Serve as barrier ,prevent direct shooting into our territory, prevent infiltration of terrorist groups and serve as a base for IDF operations and artillery”. Intentionally there was no mention of indirect shooting (Katiusha rockets), which could be performed  along several sections of the zone, due  to narrow width in some  parts of it.

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