Here’s how situation in Lebanon developed

In May 2000 Israel pulled all its troops out of Southern Lebanon ending a 22-year military presence there. The Israeli withdrawal was conducted in coordination with the UN, and, according to the UN, constituted Israeli fulfillment of its obligations under Security Council Resolution 425 (1978). Israel expected that the Lebanese government would deploy its army along the southern border, disarm Hezbollah and maintain order; however, despite repeated complaints from the United States, the U.N. and Israel, this has not taken place.

Recent developments with Lebanon

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* Hezbollah terrorists fired rockets from southern Lebanon into Israel killing three Israeli soldiers, and they also crossed the border to kidnap two soldiers. Four more Israeli soldiers were killed when their tank apparently drove over a land mine. Hezbollah, which is a party in the Lebanese government, also fired rockets into Northern Israeli towns, including Shlomi, resulting in injury to civilians.

Israel’s response

* Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert described the attack and kidnappings as “an act of war.” It was an attack from Lebanon, a sovereign nation, on Israel, another sovereign nation.

* In response, the prime minister and the cabinet called up reservists, and Israeli warplanes and tanks crossed the border in search for the kidnapped soldiers.

* This is the first Israeli incursion into Southern Lebanon since Israel’s internationally recognized withdrawal in 2000.

* Prime Minister Olmert stated, “This morning’s events were not a terrorist attack but the action of a sovereign state that attacked Israel for no reason and without provocation. The Lebanese government, of which Hezbollah is a member, is trying to undermine regional stability. Lebanon is responsible, and Lebanon will bear the consequences of its actions.”

* The Israeli government believes that the kidnapping and rocket fire from Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon are similar in nature. Both Hamas and Hezbollah have crossed over the pre-1967 borders into undisputed Israeli territory to kidnap soldiers and shell civilian populations.

* Israel has a clear duty to protect itself from aggression — against terrorism directed at civilians and against acts of war.

* Israel considers the attack from Lebanon to be an “act of war” because Lebanon is a member state of the U.N., separated from Israel by an internationally recognized boundary. In contrast, Gaza is a territory under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority, a non-state entity.