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CIVIL WAR

Israel announces financial aid for former South Lebanon Army members

Israel announces financial aid for former South Lebanon Army members

The inner courtyard of Khiam, May 24, 2000, a day after the prisoners were released. (Credit: AFP)

BEIRUT — Israel announced on Sunday that it will grant about $160,000 in financial aid to hundreds of veterans of the former South Lebanon Army (SLA), a Christian militia that was allied with and supported by Israel during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, according to Israeli media.

Here’s what we know:

    •  The SLA was formed in 1976 by soldiers who had defected from the Lebanese Army, then had received support from Israel, particularly in the wake of its invasion of Lebanon in June 1982, dubbed by Israel “Operation Peace in the Galilee," against the Palestinian factions operating in Lebanon.

    •  In Khiam Prison, a detention facility run by the, Israeli army and the SLA, inmates were imprisoned indefinitely often without trial, and were allegedly tortured and sometimes denied food and access to medical care, as the detention center was considered outside of any international regulation.

    •  During the 2006 war, Israeli air raids destroyed most of the prison buildings and, with them, part of the collective memory and available evidence.

    •  After the withdrawal of the Israeli army from south Lebanon in 2000, SLA fighters chose exile to avoid reprisals, many of them settling in Israel.

    •  Some 40 years after its invasion of Lebanon, Israel announced aid of 550,000 shekels to SLA veterans as "a solution to the housing crisis affecting 400 families who did not receive appropriate accommodation after their arrival in Israel," the Israeli Army said.

    •  The widows of these SLA fighters will also be able to receive this housing assistance "if they reside in Israel,” the army said and continued that Israel has a “moral debt” towards them. "We have the greatest respect for our brothers-in-arms, the soldiers of the South Lebanon Army who fought alongside us for years and risked their lives," Israeli Army Major Aviv Kohavi said Sunday.

    •  As reported by L'Orient-Le Jour, between 2,400 and 2,700 Lebanese still live in Israel, according to their families in Lebanon, some of whom have cut ties, fearing accusations of “collaborating with the enemy.” Others also exiled in Israel then left for Europe or North America.

    •  Lebanese-American Amer Fakhoury, who was accused of overseeing the torture of Lebanese at Khiam prison in the 1980s and 1990s while part of the SLA, was detained in 2019 after arriving in Lebanon from America, where he became a citizen after fleeing Lebanon.

    •  He was released under mysterious circumstances in March 2020. US senators Ted Cruz and Jeanne Shaheen had introduced a bill that would sanction Lebanese authorities involved in detaining U.S. citizens in Lebanon. Fakhoury died in the US in August 2020 at age 57 after suffering from stage 4 lymphoma. 


BEIRUT — Israel announced on Sunday that it will grant about $160,000 in financial aid to hundreds of veterans of the former South Lebanon Army (SLA), a Christian militia that was allied with and supported by Israel during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, according to Israeli media.Here’s what we know:    •  The SLA was formed in 1976 by soldiers who had defected from the...