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The Second Lebanon War began on July 12, 2006 when Hezbollah militants crossed the border into Israel and attacked Israeli soldiers patrolling the Lebanese border. Hezbollah simultaneously fired rockets at Israeli border towns as a diversion. The ambush and its aftermath left eight Israeli soldiers dead. Two others were kidnapped.
The Israeli government responded with an air-strike targeting Hezbollah positions inside Lebanon, followed by a ground offensive designed to destroy Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon. Hezbollah retaliated by firing Katyusha rockets at towns and cities in northern Israel, at a rate of more than 100 rockets per day for the duration of the conflict. The attacks killed 43 Israeli civilians and forced 300,000 Israelis to evacuate to bomb shelters or cities farther south.
On August 12, 2006 the war ended with a United Nations-brokered cease-fire where the Lebanese government agreed to take control of Southern Lebanon from Hezbollah with the help of the United Nations.
The results of the Second Lebanon War were not clear cut. On the one hand, Hezbollah was weakened immediately after the war. On the other hand, the United Nations was largely ineffective in fulfilling its mandate, and by 2011 Hezbollah had accumulated four times the number of rockets it possessed in 2006. In the fall of 2006 then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert appointed the Winograd Commission to investigate the events of the Second Lebanon War, in response to mounting public criticism of the Israeli government and military’s handling of the war. The public attention after the findings of the commission ended the careers of several military and political personalities in Israel.
Hezbollah remains a powerful force in the region.
• Michael Oren, Lessons of the Second Lebanon War (available with membership to the Wall Street Journal)
• It’s time for Jewish dissenters to challenge Israeli policies, San Jose Mercury News
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