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“Just War” Case Study: Israeli Invasion of Lebanon in 1982

By Christopher A. Arantz
(January 7, 2002)

This essay examines Israel’s overall reasons for invasion of southern Lebanon, and compares them to just war theory’s war-decision law and war-conduct law. This examination will establish that Israel achieved her objectives before war termination, which lead to some unjust actions.

Between 1948 and 1982 Israel had engaged in conventional combat four times against Arab coalition forces. In all cases, Israel fought for survival of its state and established a military dominance in the region. In the years leading up to 1982, the Israeli government sought ways to eliminate security problems in its occupied territory and across its border with southern Lebanon. Israel defined its security problems as terrorist excursions that threatened the security of its people and property in northern Israel.

This paper examines Israeli conduct in deciding to go to war and their conduct of war in relation to just war theory. Three areas are examined:

1) Did Israel have a just cause, use a legitimate authority and the right intention for invading Lebanon as in accordance with Jus ad Bellum?

2) Did Israel conduct the conflict in accordance with Jus in Bello?

3) What are the long-term ramifications for the region since the invasion?

Arantz wrote this Master’s thesis as a student at the USMC Command and Staff College. The opinions and conclusions expressed herein are those of the individual student author and do not necessarily represent the views of either the Marine Corps Command and Staff College or any other governmental agency.