The Guardian 23 February, 2005

Background notes
to situation in Lebanon

Lebanon was originally a part of Syria but was separated from Syria by the French colonialists following WW 2. They made use of a Christian majority in the area that became Lebanon to establish a pro-Western government there.

By the early 1970s the majority of the population had become Muslim and they began to question the pro-western policies of the Christian-based governments.A civil war erupted.

It was the intervention of Syrian troops as part of an Arab League force that put an end to the civil war in 1976.

In June 1982 Israel invaded Lebanon. Its capital city Beirut was virtually destroyed by the Israelis. Lebanon had given refuge to 300,000 Palestinian victims of the Arab-Israeli wars and the steady theft by Israel of Palestinian territory. Offices of the PLO which had been set up in Lebanon were ransacked by Israeli troops and Mossad agents. The Chatila camp of Palestinian refugees was burst into and hundred of unarmed Palestinians were assassinated.

In June 1983 an agreement between Israel and Lebanon brought about the partial withdrawal of Israeli troops but they continued to occupy a southern strip of Lebanese territory until finally forced out only a few years ago.

Some of the pro-Israel forces from this southern strip of territory came to Australia as migrants.

Is it members of this migrant community, still owing their allegiance to Israel, that travelled to Lebanon and are reported to have left in a hurry and returned to Australia immediately after the assassination of Harari?

Ghassan bin Jiddo, director of Aljazeera's office in Lebanon who received a message from the group claiming responsibility for the assassination said, "We have never heard about this group before. The person is not a native-Arabic speaker. He was speaking Arabic with a foreign accent."

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