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1978 invasion of South Lebanon: facts and numbers

31 years on, we remain steadfast in South Lebanon and the zionists jump from one defeat to another

Photo: Rashaya al-Fkhar village, April 1978

Name of invasion: “Operation Litani”

Alleged justification: Operation Kamal Adwan, in which Palestinian fighters hijacked a busload of ‘israeli’ soldiers who were killed when the zionists opened fire on the bus instead of negotiating the release of Palestinian prisoners kidnapped and thrown into zionist dungeons where they were regularly tortured.

Number of zionists killed and injured in Operation Kamal Adwan: 32 soldiers killed, 82 injured.

Real reasons for the invasion: Destroying Palestinian refugee social and political infrastructure, pushing Palestinian refugees as far away from Palestine as possible, and occupying all of South Lebanon up to the Litani (this being a zionist dream going back to the late 19th century and early 20th century). Another motive behind the invasion was the destruction of Lebanon and its elimination as a potential economic rival in the event of a comprehensive Middle Eastern peace deal, by virtue of its geographical position and human resources.

zionist violations of Lebanese airspace, land, and sea between June 14, 1968 and July 9, 1975: 2655 violations of airspace and 493 sea violations. Shelling by artillery: 4469 times. Air raids: 187 raids. Lebanese military personnel killed and injured: 168 and 167 respectively. Lebanese civilians killed and injured: 443 and 1042 respectively. Lebanese residential units destroyed and damaged: 989 and 1256 respectively.

Date of the start of the invasion: The night of 14-15 March, 1978.

Duration of the occupation: 22 years.

Targeted cities, towns, and villages: 358 villages and towns in Bint Jbeil, Marjeyoun, Hasbaya, Tyre, and Nabatiye governorates.

Area occupied in initial invasion: 1,100 square kilometers and 4 capital cities of governorates: Bint Jbeil, Marjeyoun, Hasbaya and Jezzine.

Number of Lebanese victims: 560 Lebanese civilians killed, 653 injured.

Methods used by the zionist terrorist forces: Indiscriminate bombardment by air, sea, and land.

Villages and towns completely destroyed: Ghanduriye, Abbasiye, Azziyeh, Qantara, Deir Hanna, al-Biyyada, Mazra’at al-Numeiriye, Mazra’at al-Khreibeh.

Number of residential units: 2500 completely destroyed, 620 partially destroyed.

Infrastructure: Water, electricity, communications infrastructure destroyed.

Agricultural lands: Thousands of dunams of destroyed crops, in addition to 150,000 burnt olive and citrus trees.

Schools: 50 schools completely destroyed.

Hospitals and clinics: 10 completely destroyed.

Places of worship: 20 Mosques, Husseiniyas, and Churches destroyed.

Outcome: The creation of a “buffer zone”, a strip of land making up an area of 700 square kilometers containing 55 Lebanese villages and towns. The zone was later expanded in the 1982 invasion. The occupation lasted 22 years.

Massacres perpetrated:

  • Ouzai massacre: Massacre of 26 Lebanese civilians as a result of the ‘israeli’ aerial bombardment of residential and commercial buildings in Ouza’i.
  • Rashaya al-Fkhar massacre: Targeting of a Church with artillery shells, killing 25 Lebanese civilians taking shelter there.
  • Adloun massacre: Targeting of two Mercedes cars full of 20 Lebanese civilians fleeing ‘israeli’ bombardment towards Beirut, killing them all.
  • Khiam massacre: After bombarding the town of Khiam by air and land and turning the houses into rubble, zionists handed over control of the town to militias loyal to them and functioning under their command, which proceeded to massacre the inhabitants. 100 people were massacred, most of them between the ages of 70 and 85.
  • Abbassiye massacre: 80 Lebanese civilians taking shelter in the village’s Mosque killed after zionists bombarded it with their newly-acquired F-15s that they were “testing” for the first time.
  • Mansouri massacre
  • Abbasiye massacre: Massacre of 15 civilians from Tyre, 4 civilians from Shhour, 12 civilians from Qadas, a family from Arabsalim who were in Abbassiye when it was bombarded.

Reparation payments received from ‘israel’ for deaths, injuries, property loss and damage: None.

Reparation payments from the Lebanese government to Lebanese citizens who lost property during the invasion: None received to this day.

Status of the rental payments owed to Lebanese citizens as a result of the stationing of UNIFIL troops on 700 land plots: First installment, making up 55% of total amount due, was received in 1999. The rest has not been paid to this day, and some owners have not received a single cent of the amount they are owed for the past 30 years.

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