The Good Fence (הגדר הטובה) was a term that referred to Israel's mountainous 80-mile northern border with Lebanon during the period following the Lebanese Civil War and the 1978 South Lebanon conflict. At the time, southern Lebanon was controlled by the Maronite Christians and the South Lebanon Army.
From the 1948 establishment of the State of Israel until 1970, Israel's border with Lebanon was quiet to the point that farmers from the Israeli town of Metula farmed their lands in the Ayoun Valley inside Lebanon. In 1970, after their expulsion from Jordan during Black September, the PLO began taking control over southern Lebanon and breaking the tranquility that resided in the area.
The beginning of the Good Fence coincides with the beginning of the civil war in Lebanon in 1976 and Israel support of the Maronites in southern Lebanon in their battle with the PLO. From 1977 Israel allowed the Maronites to find employment in Israel and provided assistance in exporting goods through the Israeli port city of Haifa. The main border crossing through which goods and workers crossed was the Fatima Gate crossing near Metula.
Israel alleges that, before 2000, approximately one-third of the patients in the ophthalmology department of the Western Galilee Hospital were Lebanese citizens who crossed the border through the Good Fence and received treatment free of charge.
The Good Fence ceased to exist with Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000.
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