Lebanon: A proxy battleground for half a century.
Fifty years ago, Israeli commandos killed three key PLO officials during an operation in Lebanon, and the country has been a battleground for regional powers ever since.
Half a century ago, Israeli commandos disguised as women shot and killed three key leaders of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in a covert operation in an upscale area of Beirut. Today it has been exactly fifty years since this incident, but this country is still an arena in the proxy war of various regional powers. This operation, which took place on April 10, 1973, has not yet become a story
This type of commando operation on Lebanese soil was the first of its kind, but this series of proxy fights continues. Last week’s rockets fired from Lebanon towards Israel and the response of Israeli planes to Lebanon are a reflection of this ongoing conflict.
Who was the target?
The operation of the Israeli team in the center of Beirut after entering Lebanon and their safe return after facing very little resistance shocked the people of Lebanon. This incident took place two years before the civil war in Lebanon and then the country was considered a tourist’s paradise, where ordinary people went to spend their vacations while various archaeologists also met doing research. The snow-capped mountains and sandy beaches here were a great destination for tourists.
However, after this operation, the country entered a new era, which is still ongoing in one form or another. After that, interference in this country by the regional countries never stopped.
The operation in Lebanon was led by Ehud Barak, who later became Israel’s army chief and the country’s prime minister in 1999.
The target of this commando operation was Kamal Adwan, head of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in the West Bank. Apart from them, PLO executive committee member Muhammad Yusuf Najjar and PLO spokesperson, writer and poet Kamal Nasir were also killed in this operation.
How was the operation?
On April 9, 1973, Adwan’s wife Maha Jeosi was suffering from toothache. She says that she went to bed early that night with her children, while Adwan had a late-night meeting with some PLO comrades. She says that at around one o’clock in the night, she heard the sound of the windows breaking and the sound of an explosion. In such a situation Adwan went to the bedroom to get his gun and asked his wife and children to stay in the room.
According to Maha Jyosi, seconds later, he heard gunshots and Adwan collapsed in the corridor, injured. Maha Joussi, who knew Hebrew, said two armed men then entered the bedroom and shone flashlights in her and the children’s faces. Then one of them said on the radio in Hebrew, “Mission accomplished.” Then he said, “His wife and children are here too. Should they also be killed?” In this he received the reply, “If they are not resisting, do not kill them.”
The Israeli raid, dubbed ‘Operation Bihar-i-Noo’, killed thirteen Palestinian leaders and several Lebanese police officers and security guards. In connection with the same operation, two Israeli commandos were also killed in another raid on the same night in Beirut
These Israeli actions against the Palestinian leaders were carried out after the murder of eleven Israeli athletes and coaches in the German city of Munich.
Political divisions in Lebanon
After this operation, the division between supporters and opponents of the Palestinian movement in Lebanon became more clear. Palestinian fighters have been using Lebanon as their base since the 1970s, when Jordan refused to allow Palestinians to use its land three years after Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. However, this operation led to a political crisis in Lebanon, which led to the resignation of the then Prime Minister Saeb Salam.
Clashes were later witnessed between Lebanese security forces and members of the Palestine Liberation Organization on several occasions