During the period 1982–87, the
The March 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty
removed the strategic threat of the Egyptian army from Israel’s southern front, thus freeing the government of Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin
and Defense Minister Ariel Sharon
to use the Israeli army to destroy the PLO’s estimated 15,000–18,000 fighters in Lebanon. Crippling the Palestinian quasi-state in Lebanon (with its political and military leadership, its bureaucratic organs, and its military formations) would not only rid Israel’s northern border of a hostile force, but would weaken the PLO influence internationally, regionally, and in the occupied
A July 1981 Israeli-PLO cease-fire agreement engineered by the American government had led to a brief period of peace along the Israeli-Lebanese border, but on 6 June 1982 the Israeli government used the attempted assassination in London
of the Israeli ambassador by an anti-PLO Palestinian group as a pretext to launch an invasion of Lebanon. Originally claiming that Israel only wanted to advance 40 kilometers into Lebanon to clear a “security zone,” Sharon quickly ordered the Israeli army to advance toward the capital,
The Israelis quickly encircled
Under the agreement, Israeli troops were not allowed to enter West Beirut. After the 14 September 1982 assassination of Lebanon’s president-elect,
As a result of the war, two peace plans emerged that were designed to offer a diplomatic path to negotiations on the Palestinian issue. The first was the Reagan Plan
, announced on 1 September 1982 by U.S. President Ronald Reagan
. It offered Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza, which eventually would be associated politically with Jordan. One week later, the
Another consequence of the Lebanon War
was strong dissension within the Palestinian national movement. A major rebellion broke out within Fatah that weakened Arafat’s influence within his own organization. In May 1983,
Beyond the Abu Musa secession, tense polarization emerged within the PLO. On one side, pro-Syrian organizations (PFLP-GC,
In the meantime, and against the background of PLO political-military losses in the Lebanese arena, the mounting tensions with Syria, and internal dissensions (that erupted as the “
The Jordanian-Palestinian agreement left a number of ambiguous points, mainly by not explicitly referring to Resolution 242
, as Jordan had requested. The fact is that the approach to the resolution remained a sticking point that prevented any progress in the negotiation process, not only in terms of Palestinian-Jordanian relations, but mainly relative to a possible PLO-
Israel adamantly rejected giving the PLO any role in the negotiations over the future of the West Bank and Gaza, a point made clear when the Israeli air force bombed Arafat’s headquarters in Tunis in October 1985. Israel’s colonizing activities in the occupied territories brought the additional message to the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip that occupation would continue. The uprising that broke out in December 1987 showed that the situation could not be so easily contained.
al-Hout, Bayan Nuwayhed. Sabra and Shatila: September 1982. London: Pluto Press, 2004.
Hussein bin Talal. “The Jordanian-Palestinian Peace Initiative: Mutual Recognition and Territory for Peace.” Journal of Palestine Studies 14, no.4 (Summer 1985): 11–22.
Khalidi, Rashid. Under Siege: P.L.O. Decisionmaking during the 1982 War. New York: Columbia University Press, 1985.
Sayigh, Yezid. Armed Struggle and the State: The Palestinian National Movement, 1949–1993. Oxford: Oxford University Press; Washington, DC: Institute for Palestine Studies, 2000.
Schiff, Ze’ev, and Ehud Ya’ari. Israel’s Lebanon War. New York: Touchstone, 1985.