In the period after the Yom Kippur War, the main operational focus was the war against the terrorists, reaching a peak in the Entebbe raid (July 4, 1976) and Operation Litani two years later. While the Arab states moved toward accommodation with Israel, reflected in the separation-of-forces accords and an interim agreement in Sinai, the terrorists stepped up their activity from Lebanon. Adopting a new tactic, they attempted showcase bargaining-for-hostages operations with civilian hostages, and penetrated eight Israeli towns or settlements to this end.

The IDF met the terrorist challenge both actively and passively. The latter included the building of a security fence along the length of the northern border and the Jordan Valley, the establishment of fortified positions in northern settlements, and the beefing up of civilian defense in the area.

Actively, the Army patrolled both sides of the border, and searched villages suspected of collaborating with terrorists. PLO concentrations were attacked from the ground, air, and sea, while friendly villages, mainly Christian, were allowed access to Israel and received economic, medical, and defense assistance from Israel.

In March 1978, a group of Lebanese- based terrorists attacked a bus traveling on the coastal road between Tel Aviv and Haifa, resulting in more than thirty civilian casualties. Israel decided on a wide-ranging and thorough anti-terrorist operation. The result was Operation Litani, in which the IDF occupied all of southern Lebanon except Tyre. The fighting required the close cooperation of the Army, the IAF, and the Navy. Following this operation, two corridors were created between the terrorists and Israel’s northern border. Units of the local militia, the Southern Lebanese Army, patrolled one corridor, and UNIFIL forces patrolled the other.