Monday, May 22, 2000

As the IDF withdraws fr. s. Lebanon, Hizballah mbrs. enter vacated areas, Lebanese civilians arrive en masse fr. the north to celebrate and visit, SLA mbrs. desert or flee toward Israel seeking asylum. Israeli tanks and warplanes repeated fire close to crowds to halt their advance, killing 6 civilians, including aLebanese driver for BBC, and wounding lOs. Israeli planes also bomb IDF tanks, artillery, armored personnel carriers abandoned by the SLA. (MM 5/22; CSM, MM, NYT, WP, WT 5/23; Interfax, al-Quds 5/23 in WNC 5/24; WP, WT 5/24; MEI 6/2, 6/30)

With cabinet approval, Barak orders an accelerated evacuation of IDF troops fr. the remaining half of s. Lebanon still under Israeli control and sends tanks and troops fr. deep inside Israel to reinforce the northern border. 1,OOOs of Israelis leave their homes in towns nr. the Lebanese border and stream south, fearing cross-border shelling fr. Hizballah. (MM 5/22; MA [Internet], MM, NYT, WP, WT, YA [Internet] 5/23; CSM, WP 5/24; AYM 5/24 in WNC 5/26)

To speed UN verification of Israel's withdrawal fr. Lebanon, UN Secy.-Gen Kofi Annan recommends that the UN immediately expand UNIFIL fr. 4,500 to 5,600 troops and draft aseparation line ("blue line") conforming to, but not constituting, the internationally recognized border. (MM, NYT, WP 5/23; MM, WT 5/24)