This is the transcript of Behind the News which is a program for Australian youngsters produced by the ABC. Its target audience is upper primary and secondary school students. Ask yourself, are you happy for your tax-payer money to pay for this kind of propaganda? The paragraphs that appear in black are suggested changes to the transcript which take out the bias and correct the factual inaccuracies.
Lebanon has snow-capped mountains, beaches and a history that spans thousands of years. So it's not surprising that it attracts many tourists.
Lebanon is in the Middle East, not far from Iraq and sits between the Mediterranean Sea, Syria and Israel. Lebanon is fairly small; you can see here how it compares in size to Australia.
On the narrow plains, it's hot and dry in summer. But the winters are mild to cool and wet. Up in the mountains there are heavy winter snows.
About four million people live in Lebanon, including about 30 thousand Australians.
Seventy percent are Sunni or Shia Muslims, about 25 percent are Christians, and others are Druze or belong to other religious groups. Ninety-five per cent of the people are Arabs, and the official language is Arabic. But people also speak French, English, and Armenian.
Since its independence from France in 1943, Lebanon has experienced good times and bad. When Israel was created in 1948 many Palestinians were forced from their land and some came here to Southern Lebanon. This led to the formation of groups like Hezbollah, Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organisation. Hezbollah fought Israel to reclaim lost land and to remove foreign troops from Lebanon.
In recent months Lebanon had almost finished rebuilding all the roads, buildings and infrastructure damaged during the bad times. And up until two weeks ago they thought peace was here to stay.
So that brings us to what's happening now and the reasons behind the conflict. It's a complex situation, so we asked Andrea to take a close look at the events and make it a bit easier for us to understand.
Presented by Andrea Nicolas (Episode 18)
ANDREA NICOLAS, REPORTER: Black smoke, remains of destroyed buildings, planes dropping bombs overhead...
This is what's been happening in Lebanon in recent weeks.
It's been bombed by neighboring country Israel and more than 300 people have been killed.
Bombs have destroyed Lebanon's only international airport in the capital city Beirut as well as one of the country's main power stations. Many main roads are damaged, so people have no way out and are trapped inside their houses.
Because there's no electricity, they can't check the news to find out what's happening and they've been relying on their mobile phones to communicate. But their phone batteries are also running out.
The recent attacks started when Hezbollah soldiers from Lebanon kidnapped two Israeli soldiers and killed 8. Hezbollah wanted to swap the kidnapped Israeli soldiers for Arab prisoners being held in Israel.
But Israel fought back hard. It dropped bombs across Lebanon including in the south, where it believes a Hezbollah leader lives and where weapons are stored. Hezbollah retaliated by firing rockets into Israel, but didn't cause as much damage.
The war is actually between Israel and Hezbollah Militants, not the country of Lebanon.
Hezbollah is a small group of Palestinian extremists who fled to Lebanon as refugees because their land was taken over by Israel. Hezbollah and Hamas, another extremist group wanting to get land back, have both launched terrorist attacks on Israel in the past.
There's a long history of conflict, which has led to this latest attack. Here's a quick timeline of the main events:
Pre 1947 Jews lived in Palestine. They believe their ancestors came from there, and their holiest places of worship are in Jerusalem. In the 1880s large numbers of Jews arrived and bought land from Arabs.
1947 The UN established Israel as an official country for the Jewish people, taking the original very large land of Palestine and dividing it between the Jews and the Arabs. Many Arabs were forced out of their lands as were many Jews forced out of Arab lands at the time. The Jews and the Arabs fought a war over this partition, and they have been both fighting AND negotiating over the land until now.
1948 Israel was proclaimed as a country for Jewish people, taking much of the land from Palestinian Muslims.
The UN divided up the lands between the Arabs and the Jews and many Arabs were forced out of their lands as were approximately as many Jews forced out of Arab lands at the time. No one can say for sure exactly how many Arabs and Jews were forced off each other's lands, and there are conflicting accounts
1964 The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) was established for Arabs in their fight against Israel for taking their land.
1967 Israel took over Gaza and West Bank and 500 thousand Palestinians fled the country.
From 1975 until the early 1990s Lebanon suffered a terrible civil war in which Israel, Lebanon, Syria and the PLO used the country as a battlefield.
2000 Israel withdrew its troops from south Lebanon in July.
2005 UN demanded that Syrian troops leave Lebanon.
While Israel has launched attacks on targets in Lebanon before, this time it's on a large scale. Israel's military has targeted main infrastructure like airports and power stations to make it hard for anyone in Lebanon to fight back or to flee the country. Israel has also blocked escape by sea.
The United Nations wants the two groups to stop fighting, and has demanded a cease-fire and negotiations. But Israel says it'll continue to fight until Hezbollah is destroyed.
Many countries like Australia have been working to help their people leave Lebanon. The Federal Government has arranged buses and a ship to help 10 thousand Australians who've registered, wanting to leave the capital Beirut.
But for those Aussies stuck in southern Lebanon, it could be a long wait. That area is being bombed the most and Israel has refused to give the Aussies a safe passage to escape in case members of Hezbollah get away too.