Three years of relative calm along the borders were shattered on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), the holiest day of the Jewish year, when Egypt and Syria launched a coordinated surprise assault against Israel (6 October 1973), with the Egyptian Army crossing the Suez Canal and Syrian troops penetrating the Golan Heights.
During the next three weeks, the Israel Defense Forces turned the tide of battle and repulsed the attackers, crossing the Suez Canal into Egypt and advancing to within 20 miles (32 km.) of the Syrian capital, Damascus. Two years of difficult negotiations between Israel and Egypt and between Israel and Syria resulted in disengagement agreements, according to which Israel withdrew from parts of the territories captured during the war.
1982 Operation Peace for Galilee
Israel has never wanted a conflict with its northern neighbor, Lebanon. However, when the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) redeployed itself in southern Lebanon after being expelled from Jordan (1970) and perpetrated repeated terrorist actions against the towns and villages of northern Israel (Galilee), which caused many casualties and much damage, the Israel Defense Forces crossed the border into Lebanon (1982).
"Operation Peace for Galilee" resulted in removing the bulk of the PLO's organizational and military infrastructure from the area. For the next 18 years, Israel maintained a small security zone in southern Lebanon adjacent to its northern border to safeguard its population in Galilee against attacks by hostile elements.
Second Lebanon War
In May of 2000 Israel withdrew all its forces from the security zone in southern Lebanon. Lebanon however failed to comply with UN Security Council Resolutions 425 and1559, which call for the dismantling of Hizbullah
and the deployment of the Lebanese army in southern Lebanon.
As a result of this failure, violence erupted in July of 2006, following Hizbullah's abduction of two Israeli soldiers and bombardment of Israel's northern cities. In the ensuing conflict, which came to be known as the Second Lebanon War
, over 4,000 rockets were fired at civilian targets in Israel. The fighting concluded in August of 2006 and UNSC Resolution 1701
was passed, calling for the unconditional release of the captured Israeli soldiers, the deployment of UNIFIL and Lebanese soldiers throughout southern Lebanon, and the establishment of an embargo on weapons supplied to Lebanese armed groups.
2008 Gaza Operation
Following Israel's 2005 withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and four settlements in the northern West Bank, and the election of Hamas in 2007, terrorism against Israel increased. Thousands of rockets have been fired into southern Israel from the Gaza Strip, resulting in damage to property and both physical and psychological injury to the population living in the south; and creating a situation in which Israel was forced to take military action in the form of Operation Cast Lead
(27 December 2008 through 18 January 2009).
Arab and Palestinian terrorism against Israel existed for decades prior to the establishment of the State of Israel and since then. Thousands of terrorist attacks which resulted in the death and injury of Israeli civilians occurred during the two decades preceding the 1967 Six Day War (which led to Israel's presence in the territories). The establishment of the PLO in 1964 put it at the forefront of this terrorist campaign.
During the 1970s and 1980s, the various terrorist organizations under the PLO launched numerous attacks inside Israel and abroad. One of the most notorious attacks was the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972.
In spite of the Palestinian commitment made in 1993 to renounce terrorism, thus providing the basis for the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, terrorist attacks nonetheless continued, and strongly intensified since September 2000, resulting in the death of more than a thousand Israeli civilians and the wounding of many thousands more.