Monday, April 20, 1998 Published at 14:13 GMT 15:13 UK
Israel and the PLO
The former BBC Middle East correspondent, Tim Llewellyn, looks back at the history of Israel.
In the face of Israel's domination of the region after 1967 - the war and occupation of the West Bank pushed nearly 400,000 more Palestinians into Jordan - many Palestinians lost faith in the machinations of Arab regimes and began to build their own nationalist and resistance movement.
They were able to exploit a low-level war of attrition between Israel and Egypt and, until 1970, enjoyed the tacit support of the Jordanian and Syrian governments.
Entanglement in Lebanon
Israel retaliated against the guerrillas, striking at them in Jordan at first, then more decisively and extensively into Lebanon, where the Palestinian organisations fled after King Hussein of Jordan crushed and expelled them in 1970.
Israel had the better of the military exchanges, and in 1978 invaded Southern Lebanon, occupying an area across the Israeli border. It created and ran there a mainly Christian Lebanese militia led by a rebel Lebanese Army major.
But the PLO and its Lebanese allies continued to raid and shell northern Israel. The PLO also gained more and more international recognition, in the Arab world and beyond, even in the West, as the official representative of the Palestinian people.
Much to Israel's distress, the Palestinian movement was being seen worldwide as a legitimate nationalist resistance movement with a high political profile - rather than the bloodied terrorists of traditional Israeli propaganda.
The international community continued to blame Israel's continued occupation of Arab lands and its settlements policy for these upheavals.
In June 1982, with a view to putting an end to the PLO as a force to be reckoned with, and quashing its support in the West Bank and Gaza, the Israel Defence Force acted. Israeli aircraft and troops began a supposedly retaliatory move into Lebanon (although the border was in fact quiet at the time).
This quickly became a full-scale invasion lasting more than two months and eventually rolling into the Lebanese capital Beirut itself. Tens of thousands of civilians, Lebanese and Palestinians, were killed and injured.
Again, many Arab and independent observers held Israel responsible for the massacre, or at least accused it of almost wilful criminal negligence in not controlling its Christian allies. And there were other, darker conspiracy theories.
An Israeli judicial commission found that the Israeli Army had failed in its duties and was indirectly responsible for the massacre. Even wider worries were voiced in Israel itself as to whether during the invasion the government of Prime Minister Begin had ever really had control of events or the army itself.
In May 1983, Israel signed a defence agreement with Lebanon, which was soon abrogated under Syrian pressure. By 1985 Israeli forces, harassed by Lebanese guerrillas, had pulled back from much of Lebanon. But they widened their "security zone" in South Lebanon.
During the next 13 years, the so-called "security zone" in South Lebanon became more and more problematic for Israel. By 1998, the Israelis were trying to find an acceptable way out of the Lebanese thicket.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian problem continued to grow.
The History of Israel
Part 1: The return of the Jews to the promised land
Part 2: The birth of Israel
Part 3: Israel builds a nation
Part 4: Israel in war and peace
Part 5: Israel and the PLO
Part 6: The Intifada
Part 7: The road to Oslo