Israel Elections
Israel's Vietnam - its entanglement here has led to endless grief and bloodshed, often of the civilian population.

In 1999 Ehud Barak was elected on a pledge to withdraw Israeli forces from Lebanon within a year. The unilateral withdrawal in May 2000, which he said would be an "end to the tragedy", was compared to the Americans pulling out of Saigon.

For the moment the future remains uncertain, and without the support of Syria, Lebanon's power broker, Israel's northern borders could remain a flashpoint

Israel first occupied Lebanon in 1978, and continued to occupy parts of it for 22 years in contravention of a UN resolution. Since then, thousands of people have been killed, mainly Lebanese civilians and Palestinian refugees. Hundreds of Israeli and SLA troops and Lebanese guerrillas have also died in the fighting.

The Israeli invasion of 1982, the siege of Beirut and the Sabra and Chatilla massacres led many of those who had held idealistic views of Israel to discard them. The pro-peace lobby in Israel has its roots in anti-invasion protests in the 1980s.