Friday, July 21

Lebanon: When a 'Good Fence' made for good neighbors

From Wikipedia:

The Good Fence
is a popular term for Israel's northern border with Lebanon during the period following the civil war in Lebanon during which southern Lebanon was controlled by the Maronite Christians, friendly to Israel.

...The Good Fence ceased to exist with Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000.
From The Jewish Agency:

In 1976 Syria and the PLO systematically began to slaughter the Christians in Lebanon. More than 75,000 people were killed. Many fled to southern Lebanon near Israel's border. Israel supplied them with equipment to protect them from the Syrians.

Beginning in June 1976 Israel permitted Lebanese to cross into Israel at Metullah to receive medical care.

Considering the fact that Lebanon and Israel remained in an official state of war, this humane action was unprecedented. From June to October 1976 Israel treated more than 11,000 wounded Lebanese who crossed "The Good Fence" into Israel for medical care.

In May, 2000, after Israel's evacuation from Southern Lebanon, more than 6,500 Lebanese fled into Israel through the Good Fence.
Globetrotting journalist Michael J. Totten has en excellent personal view of the area, it's history, and interviews from buth sides of the fence (and story):
Lisa and I followed Israeli Defense Forces Spokesman Zvika Golan as he led us in his jeep to the kibbutz of Malkiya right on the Lebanese-Israeli border, within immediate striking distance of Hezbollah’s rockets and bombs.

Zvika pulled off to the side of the road and pointed out a UN base just over the fence on the Lebanese side. He yelled something at the UN soldiers in Hindi. They waved and hollered back at him in Hindi. By happy coincidence, both Zvika and the peacekeepers are from India. Theirs is, perhaps, the only verbal communication that ever crosses that fence.

The Good Fence (Photo: Lisa Goldman)

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