On July 12, 2006, Lebanon entered a devastating war with Israel that ended 33 days later with the approval of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701.
On August 10, 2006, Israel confirmed the death of 15 of its soldiers and the injury of 40 others on the previous day, in the deadliest day of the war for Israel since its beginning.
The next day, as violent exchanges of fire between Hezbollah and the Israeli military continued, the U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution intended to end the bloody conflict that had, until that point, killed and injured hundreds of civilians in Lebanon.
UNSC Resolution 1701 called for:
The full cessation of hostilities
The Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon and the deployment of Lebanese soldiers and UNIFIL peacekeepers throughout South Lebanon
“The disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon,” which implied Hezbollah
No armed forces to be present south of the Litani River, except for UNIFIL and the Lebanese Army
No foreign forces to be present in Lebanon without its government’s consent
The provision to the U.N. of all maps of land mines in Lebanon in Israel‘s possession
The Resolution stressed the importance of the Lebanese government exercising full control of Lebanon, as well as the need to urgently address the unconditional release of the Israeli soldiers that were abducted by Hezbollah on July 12.
Additionally, Resolution 1701 emphasized the Security Council’s strong support for the full respect of the Blue Line, and the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and political independence of Lebanon within its internationally recognized borders.
All Security Council members approved the Resolution, which was unanimously approved by the Lebanese cabinet on the following day (August 12).
Military operations were still ongoing that same day, on which Hezbollah shot down an Israeli helicopter in the Maryameen area near the southern village of Yater.
Also on August `12, the Israeli military confirmed the death of 24 of its soldiers, the helicopter’s crew included, in various areas in Lebanon.
On the other hand, 20 Lebanese civilians were killed in Israeli operations that day.
On August 12, the Israeli Air Force conducted around 40 air attacks in Nabatieh and 5 others around the city of Baalbek, in addition to launching airstrikes in northern Lebanon at a Lebanese Army base and civilian homes.
In southern Lebanon, the Ain El-Hilweh and Bourj El-Chamali refugee camps were also targeted by Israeli airstrikes.
These, along with Hezbollah‘s last rocket barrage the following day, were among the last major attacks recorded in the July War.
Lebanese Troops Back to the South
On August 13, the Israeli cabinet voted 24-0 in favor of approving Resolution 1701, and Hezbollah said that it would honor the call for a ceasefire. On the same day, Hezbollah launched 250 rockets at Israeli settlements.
The ceasefire took effect at 8 AM on August 14th.
3 days later the Lebanese Army deployed south of the Litani River for the first time since 1978, receiving a warm welcome from residents.
When the ceasefire was enacted, Elias El-Murr, Lebanon’s Defense Minister at the time, stated that the army “won’t be deployed to south Lebanon to disarm Hezbollah.”
This position was echoed by UNIFIL, which also stated that it would not disarm the group.
For its part, Hezbollah agreed to disarm only its units that were positioned south of the Litani River.
In line with UNSC Resolution 1701, the Lebanese government demanded that Palestinians in refugee camps in the Litani area disarm as well.
Monir Al-Makdah, the senior operative of the Fatah Palestinian armed group in Lebanon, later rejected the demand, deeming the Resolution illegal for not including the right for Palestinian refugees to return to their land.
Throughout the years since the 2006 War ended, the southern Lebanese border has seen alternating periods of peace and breakouts of violence, both between Lebanese and Israeli soldiers and between Hezbollah fighters and Israeli soldiers.