Good Fence

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Pre-2000 Israeli-Lebanese border

The Good Fence (Hebrew: הגדר הטובה‎) was a term that referred to Israel's mountainous 80-mile northern border with Lebanon[1] 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, as the Free Lebanon State (1978-1984) and later the South Lebanon security belt administration.

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 Israeli support for the predominantly-Maronite militias in southern Lebanon in their battle with the PLO. From 1977, Israel allowed the Maronites and their allies 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. This provided essential economic stability to the administration of Free Lebanon State and the South Lebanon security belt administration.

Israel states 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.[2]

The Good Fence ceased to exist with Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000 and disintegration of the South Lebanon security belt administration.

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