The longest war

An overview of the Israel-Hizbullah conflict.

IDF troops lebanon 29888 (photo credit: AP [file])
IDF troops lebanon 29888
(photo credit: AP [file])
Over 34 blistering days this summer, the IDF engaged in a bitter fight with Hizbullah forces in Lebanon - Israel's longest period of sustained combat since the 1948 War of Independence. Indeed, in many ways the nation is still waging that same struggle for its existence. In Israel's intervening wars - in 1956, 1967, 1973 and 1982 - the IDF faced conventional armies, spared Israeli cities harm by taking the battle onto enemy territory, and swiftly routed often superior foes. In "Operation Peace for Galilee," for instance, Israeli armored columns sliced through the Palestinian Liberation Army and were on the doorsteps of Beirut in half the time of the recent conflict with Hizbullah. But this time - fighting against a well-equipped, well-entrenched and deeply fanatical guerrilla army - it took five weeks to slog five miles into the same familiar terrain. As a result, the legendary image of Israeli might has been tarnished in the eyes of the region, leaving many Israelis asking tough questions of their leaders, and wondering how long it will be before an even wider war is thrust upon them.