Israel/Violations of Lebanese sovereignty

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Event.png Israel/Violations of Lebanese sovereignty (crime) Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Date1982 - Present

Israeli violations of Lebanese sovereignty are intrusions into Lebanon by land, over-flights of its airspace and violations of its territorial waters. They are likely a breach of UN/Security Council/Resolutions #425 and 1701.[1][2][3]


Israel has committed multiple and severe violations of Lebanese sovereignty, including an invasion covering most of the country in 1982, followed by 18 years of occupation. In 1998 mock air raids over Beirut by low-flying supersonic jets created sonic booms.[4] A British reporter living in Nazareth reported that over-flights of the border were an almost daily between the end of the occupation and the beginning of the war, and resumed almost immediately afterwards. The booms are terrifying.[5]

Sonic booms as a weapon

When low-level supersonic aircraft were causing booms over Gaza (mostly late at night or early in the morning) an Israeli newspaper reported that the booms cause nightmares and bed-wetting in children, break windows and cause panic attacks in pregnant women. They say that "the world's best air force is amusing itself by creating fear in a helpless and terrified civilian population".[6]

UN protests, various

By 2004, the UN had repeatedy protested the Israeli overflights, with Kofi Annan's Personal Representative for Southern Lebanon having expressed "serious concern" over the large number of Israeli air violations that took place across the line of withdrawal in a single day.[7] In 2010 the UN peacekeeping mission again protested the recent significant number of overflights.[8]

2006 war aftermath, French and US protests

In 2006 French Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie stated: "I remind that the violations of the airspace are extremely dangerous, they are dangerous first because they may be felt as hostile by forces of the coalition that could be brought to retaliate in cases of self defense and it would be a very serious incident."[9] US officials on visit in Israel also demanded that Israel stop the overflights since they undermined the standing of Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.[10]


In 2007 the Lebanese government complained in a letter to the UN that Israeli planes had flown into Lebanese airspace 290 times within four months, and that Israeli troops had crossed the border 52 times. Further complaints concerned the one million cluster bombs dropped by Israel in 2006 that had yet to explode and that fact that maps had still not been provided of where they'd been dropped. By 2008, 39 Lebanese civilians had been killed and dozens more maimed from these small landmines.[5] In addition, Israel continued to occupy the divided town of Rajar.[11] It 2007 and 2008 it was said that breaches by planes and drones have happened almost daily since the 2006 invasion.[12] In 2007 there were more supersonic over-flights of Lebanon.[13]

Ongoing provocations

In 2010 Lebanon claimed that Israel had sent troops over the border, killing three Lebanese soldiers, a journalist and losing one Israeli officer. Israel claims that a BBC picture of Israeli soldiers being lifted over a fence on a cherry-picker do not show a crossing of the border.[14] There have been other violations of the Blue Line by Israeli vehicles as in June 2011.[15] There have also been incursions into the occupied Shebaa Farms area (25 sq km that is claimed by Lebanon but may be part of Syria).[16]

Off-shore Gas Agreement Lacking

At sea, Israeli gunboats have shot into Lebanese territorial waters, and there have been Lebanese claims that Israel is breaching the law of the sea and might lay claim on Lebanese natural resources through the Tamar gas field.[17][18][19][20]

Lebanon and Israel responses

Lebanese officials fear the escalation in overflights heighten tensions and could lead to war. In 2010 Hariri said that the Lebanese would remain united and stand by Hezbollah.[21]

Israel rejects such criticism, and in 2006 claimed that the overflights are necessary, rejecting calls by the French government to halt them.[22] In 2008 Israel said that it has concerns about "the core elements of 1701. Instead of disarming this terror organization ... the Lebanese government now officially approves its military status."[23] Wikileaks contains a US cable showing that Israel offered to cease overflights if the US would provide it "equivalent intelligence".[24]

Hezbollah's justification for its legimitacy as an armed resistance movement against Israel is partly based on Israeli violations of Lebanese sovereignty.[25]

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  1. Security Council Extends Unifil Mandate also "... expresses great concern about the serious breaches and the air, sea and land violations of the withdrawal line ...". 2001.
  2. UN Questions Usefulness of Peacekeepers Israeli warplanes violate Lebanese airspace on an almost daily basis, prompting Hizbullah to fire antiaircraft rounds across the border. July 30, 2002.
  3. UN to Israel: stop Lebanon airspace violations The overflights "do not only constitute a violation of Lebanese sovereignty, but also of (UN Security Council) Resolution 1701", Yasmina Bouziane, spokeswoman for the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). 2007-11-30.
  4. Israeli planes create sonic boom confusion over Lebanon Israeli planes have staged mock air raids over Beirut and its southern outskirts. The planes flew low over the city at high speed, creating sonic booms. BBC 9th Dec 1998.
  5. a b Evidence of Israeli 'Cowardly Blending' Comes to Light Almost daily for those six years Israel behaved as though the occupation had not ended, sending war planes into Lebanese air space to create terrifying sonic booms and spy on the country. After the war, it resumed these flights almost immediately. January 5, 2008.
  6. Demons in the skies of the Gaza Strip The world's best air force is amusing itself by creating fear in a helpless and terrified civilian population. Haaretz. 11th Jun 2005.
  7. UN envoy 'seriously concerned' over Israeli violations of Lebanese airspace Kofi Annan's Personal Representative for Southern Lebanon has expressed "serious concern" over the large number of Israeli air violations that took place across the line of withdrawal today. 11 October 2004.
  8. Lebanon: UN again protests against Israeli over-flights The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Lebanon has strongly protested to Israel over the significant number of over-flights in Lebanese airspace during the last few days in violation of a Security Council resolution ending the 34-day war between Israel and Hizbollah militants in 2006. 11 January 2010.
  9. France calls IAF overflights in Lebanon 'extremely dangerous' France has deployed anti-aircraft missiles in southern Lebanon, and at the moment they can only be used for self-defense for French soldiers serving in the UN force. 20th Oct 2006.
  10. U.S. officials demand IAF cease overflights in Lebanese airspace Visiting diplomats David Welch, Elliott Abrams tell Olmert, Livni such flights undermine Siniora government. 3rd Nov 2006.
  11. Lebanon to UN: Israel breached truce deal hundreds of times "Israeli planes had flown into Lebanese airspace 290 times within four months ... Israeli troops had crossed the border 52 times". One million cluster bombs dropped by Israel during the course of the war have yet to explode. 01 Nov 2007
  12. Lebanese army: 12 IAF jets fly over Beirut IAF warplanes frequently fly over Lebanese airspace in what Israel says are reconnaissance missions. ... Before the 2006 Second Lebanon War between Israel and the Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based guerrilla group habitually opened fire on Israeli planes, with shrapnel from the anti-aircraft fire falling on Israeli communities across the border, causing some casualties. 2008-04-02.
  13. Report: IAF jets emit sonic booms over S. Lebanon IAF jets emitted sonic booms over the Marjayoun and Nabatiyeh areas in southern Lebanon on Sunday, ... the planes started circling the area in the morning. 2007-01-22.
  14. Israel-Lebanon border clash kills five people Lebanon says troops opened fire after Israeli troops entered its territory. Israel denied the charge and say that the picture does not show a border crossing. BBC 3 August 2010
  15. Israeli army vehicles cross Blue Line into Lebanon In contravention of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, which put an end to the 2006 summer war with Israel, both vehicles crossed the line for six minutes as the Lebanese Army troops which were deployed in the area took the necessary field measures. Daily Star 15th June 2011.
  16. Israel again violates Lebanese air space, enters Shebaa Farms Two Israeli troops crossed the technical fence at the Ras al-Sammaqa site in the Shebaa Farms and moved 20 meters into disputed territories, where they stayed for 15 minutes, while four Israeli soldiers breached the same area Sunday morning, the army statement said. 2010-12-29.
  17. Israeli gunboat fired shots toward Lebanese waters Around 4 a.m. Saturday, an Israeli gunboat "fired several bursts toward Lebanese territorial waters" off Lebanon’s southern coast, the Lebanese Armed Forces’ Directorate of Orientation said in a statement. NOW Lebanon 7th Aug 2010.
  18. Lebanon says Israel gas search violates sea border Lebanon accused Israel on Monday of breaking international law by allowing energy firms to explore for offshore gas in the absence of an agreement between the two countries on their maritime border. Reuters Jan 10, 2011.
  19. Oil, gas discoveries, a potential Israel-Lebanon conflict The recent discoveries of massive gas fields off the coast of northern Israel, tantalizingly close to Lebanese coastal waters, has stirred cash-strapped Lebanon to accelerate efforts to begin its own oil and gas exploration. Ya Libnan 2010-11-02.
  20. Report: Israel stealing Lebanese gas London-based as-Safir newspaper said on Tuesday that the reserve which was found "extends into Lebanon's territorial waters, which forces on Lebanon a new challenge and introduces a new issue to struggle over." The paper also published maps supporting its claims. 8th Jun 2010
  21. Israeli overflights ‘dangerous situation’ The BBC quoted Hariri as saying that Lebanon was united and that the government would stand by Hezbollah. "I think they're betting that there might be some division in Lebanon, if there is a war against us," it quoted him as saying. "Well, there won't be a division in Lebanon. We will stand against Israel. We will stand with our own people." Reuters 10th Feb 2010.
  22. Israel Continues Overflights of Lebanon Israeli warplanes flew missions over southern Lebanon and parts of Beirut, one day after Israeli officials rejected calls by the French government to halt the overflights. 23 October 2006.
  23. Petraeus Visit Highlights Growing Strategic Prominence of Lebanon General David Petraeus made an unannounced visit to Lebanon yesterday to discuss American support for the country's national army. The New York Sun August 7, 2008.
  24. Israel offered to cease overflights for US intel "[Pedersen and Williams] claimed that Israeli officials, whom they had met earlier that week, had hinted at stopping overflights if the [US] could provide equivalent intelligence," says Wikileaks cable. The Daily Star 2010-12-06.
  25. Israel and Hizballah Ready to Rumble? "The Israeli enemy's persistence in its violations of Lebanese airspace, territorial waters and territory, especially during the past few days, is an unacceptable provocative escalation that calls for condemnation and serious action on the part of the concerned Lebanese authorities as well as the U.N. bodies," Hizballah's military wing, said this week in its first statement since the 2006 war. Time Magazine 2008-08-01.