Southern Lebanon



Last updated 21 July 1999
Not an official document of the United Nations

Southern Lebanon
March 1978 to present

Established to confirm the withdrawal of Israeli forces from southern Lebanon, to restore international peace and security, and to assist the Government of Lebanon in ensuring the return of its effective authority in the area. UNIFIL has, however, been prevented from fully implementing its mandate. Israel has maintained its occupation of parts of south Lebanon, where the Israeli forces and their local auxiliary continued to be targets of attacks by groups that have proclaimed their resistance to the occupation. UNIFIL does its best to limit the conflict and protect the inhabitants of the area from the fighting. In doing so, it continues to contribute to stability in the area.


Major-General Jioje Konouse Konrote (Fiji)

Appointment Information: Appointed in 1997; S/1997/660 & S/1997/661;
Press release SG/A/649 [1997]


As of 31 May 1999:
Uniformed mission total : 4,500 troops; supported by international and locally recruited civilian staff

As of 31 May 1999:
Fiji, Finland, France, Ghana, India, Ireland,
Italy, Nepal, Poland


Method of mission financing:
Assessments in respect of a Special Account
with appropriations decided on by
the General Assembly and proposed by the Secretary-General.

Pursuant to recommendations contained in a report by the Secretary-General on the financing of UNIFIL (A/53/982) for the one-year period beginning 1 July 1999 (Press Release GA/AB/3227) - the General Assembly, by adopting resolution A/RES/53/227 on 8 June 1999, appropriated $148.9 million for the maintenance of UNIFIL to cover the period 1 July 1999 to 30 June 1999 (see also Press Release GA/9561 ).

Covering preceding budget cycles, the General Assembly, by its resolution 52/237 adopted 26 June 1998, appropriated to the Special Account for UNIFIL an amount of $143.0 million gross, equivalent to a monthly rate of $11.9 million gross, for the maintenance of the Force for the period from 1 July 1998 to 30 June 1999. As at 31 December 1998, unpaid assessments to the Special Account for UNIFIL for the period since its inception to 31 January 1999 amounted to $112.9 million.


UNIFIL suffered 227 fatalities as of 31 December 1998
[United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) fatality database]


19 July 1999: Secretary-General condemns shelling attack
against United Nations personnel in southern Lebanon

Secretary-General Kofi Annan condemned on 19 July 1999 an attack against United Nations personnel in southern Lebanon by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) de facto forces (DFF). In a statement by his spokesman, the Secretary-General called on the Israeli Government to take measures to ensure that IDF/DFF respect the non-combatant status of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). According to the statement, IDF/DDF de facto forces shelled a UN position in south Lebanon on 18 July 1999. The position was hit directly by two artillery rounds, while three other rounds impacted between 4 and 22 metres away. "It was only because of the quick reaction of the Finnish troops manning the position and a great deal of luck that there were no casualties," said the spokesman.The latest incident recalled others in May and June, in which UN positions were targeted by the IDF/DFF. On 31 May, an Irish soldier was killed by such shelling. Mr. Annan described the 18 July incident, which occurred despite Israeli assurances, as "deeply unsettling" (see below).

1 June 1999: Secretary-General condemns killing of Irish UNIFIL soldier
On 1 June 1999, Secretary-General Kofi Annan condemned the killing of a member of the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon. Private William Kedian, a member of the Irish contingent of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, was killed on 31 May by a mortar round fired by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF)/de facto forces (DFF). In a statement released by his Spokesman, the Secretary-General said he was deeply saddened by the death of Private Kedian and expressed his deep condolences to the family and to the Government of Ireland. He condemned this attack against United Nations personnel and calls on the Government of Israel to take all necessary measures to ensure that its Defence Forces and their local Lebanese auxiliary respected the non-combatant status of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon. Private Kedian was the seventy-seventh UN peacekeeper to die from hostile fire in Lebanon since 1978.

28 January 1999:Security Council, upon recommendation by Secretary-General,
extends UNIFIL's mandate until 31 July 1999

The Security Council, on 28 January 1999, extended UNIFIL's mandate for six months through 31 July 1999 by adopting resolution 1223(1999) . The consideration, by the Council, of the mission was based on recommendations contained in report S/1999/16 forwarded by the Secretary-General to the Council on 19 January 1999, which covered the Force's activities and developments in the area of its operation for 16 July 1998 to 15 January 1999.

According to the report hostilities continued during the past six months between the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and its local Lebanese auxiliary, the de facto forces (DFF), on the one hand, and armed elements who proclaimed their resistance against the Israeli occupation, on the other. UNIFIL recorded 386 operations conducted by armed elements against IDF/DFF - the highest number in a long time.There were also reports of some 280 operations north of the Litani River. The vast majority of those operations were carried out by the Islamic Resistance, the military wing of the Shiite Muslim Hizbullah organization. The Shiite movement Amal took responsibility for some 30 operations; a few were attributed to other Lebanese groups. The armed elements employed small arms, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, anti-tank missiles, recoilless rifles, rockets and explosive devices. They fired some 3,000 mortar rounds, rockets and anti-tank missiles, as compared to about 3,500 rounds in the previous reporting period. IDF/DFF, in response to attacks or in operations they initiated, employed artillery, mortars, tanks, helicopter gunships, fixed-wing aircraft and explosive devices. IDF continued its practice of conducting pre-emptive artillery bombardments but reduced long-range patrols forward of its positions. UNIFIL recorded close to 18,000 rounds of artillery, mortar, tanks and missiles fired by IDF/DFF, an increase of 70 per cent over the last reporting period. Israeli navy continued to patrol Lebanese territorial waters in the south and imposed fishing restrictions.

UNIFIL continued its efforts to limit the conflict and to protect the inhabitants from the fighting. Through its network of checkpoints and observation posts, an active programme of patrolling, and continuous contacts with the parties, the Force did its best to prevent its area of operation from being used for hostile activities and to defuse situations that could lead to escalation. Nevertheless, civilians were again killed or injured, and the Force at times encountered hostile reactions from both sides. The Force assisted the civilian population through medical care, harvest patrols and the distribution of educational material and equipment to schools and orphanages.

The Secretary-General observed that fighting in south Lebanon continued at an increased pace and the situation in the area remained volatile and dangerous, with a heightened risk of escalation. Regrettably, civilians were again killed and injured. As before, UNIFIL did its best to limit the conflict and to protect the inhabitants. While UNIFIL continues to be prevented from implementing the mandate contained in resolution 425 (1978), its contribution to stability and the protection it was able to afford the population of the area remain important. He therefore recommended that the Security Council extend the mandate of UNIFIL for another period of six months, until 31 July 1999.

The Security Council, in a Presidential Statement S/PRST/1999/4 issued on 28 January 1999 after adopting resolution 1223(1999), shared the observations of the Secretary-General contained in the report. The Council commended UNIFIL's troops and troop-contributing countries for their sacrifices and commitment to the cause of international peace and security under difficult circumstances.


In the early 1970s, tension along the Israel-Lebanon border increased, especially after the relocation of Palestinian armed elements from Jordan to Lebanon. Palestinian commando operations against Israel and Israeli reprisals against Palestinian bases in Lebanon intensified. On 11 March 1978, a commando attack in Israel resulted in many dead and wounded among the Israeli population; the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) claimed responsibility for that raid. In response, Israeli forces invaded Lebanon on the night of 14/15 March, and in a few days occupied the entire southern part of the country except for the city of Tyre and its surrounding area.

On 15 March 1978, the Lebanese Government submitted a strong protest to the Security Council against the Israeli invasion, stating that it had no connection with the Palestinian commando operation. On 19 March the Security Council adopted resolutions 425 (1978) and 426 (1978), in which it called upon Israel immediately to cease its military action and withdraw its forces from all Lebanese territory. It also decided on the immediate establishment of UNIFIL. The first UNIFIL troops arrived in the area on 23 March 1978.

In June 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon again. For three years, UNIFIL remained behind the Israeli lines, with its role limited to providing protection and humanitarian assistance to the local population to the extent possible. In 1985, Israel carried out a partial withdrawal, but it retained control of an area in southern Lebanon manned by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and by Lebanese de facto forces (DFF), the so-called "South Lebanon Army".

Although UNIFIL has been prevented from fulfilling its mandate, its contribution to stability in the region and the protection it has been able to provide to the local population remained important. The Force has recently been streamlined in order to achieve savings without affecting its operational effectiveness. The mandate has so far been renewed every six months. UNIFIL's current mandate was most recently extended to 31 July 1999 by Security Council resolution 1223(1999) of 28 January 1999.


UNIFIL Deployment Map |
Current UN Peacekeeping Missions | Completed UN Peacekeeping Missions |
Worldmap of all Peacekeeping Missions | Deployment Maps of Current Missions |
1948-1998: Fifty Years of UN Peacekeeping |
United Nations Mission in East Timor: UNAMET | The United Nations in Kosovo |
Special Representatives of the UN Secretary-General |
Sanctions | Contributors - Troops | Rapid Deployment | Demining |
Lessons Learned | Training | Medical Support | Fatalities | UN Medals |
Peacekeeping Cyberschoolbus | UN Publications | Photo Gallery | Glossary |
UN Field Employment | Frequently Asked Questions | Feedback | What's New |
UN News: Spokesman's Office Briefings-Daily Highlights-Press Releases |
United Nations Security Council Documents:
Resolutions-Reports-Presidential Statements-Letters
United Nations Documents Database | UN Home Page |

Prepared by the Peace and Security Section
United Nations Department of Public Information
Not an official document of the United Nations