BEIRUT — Lebanon hailed on Tuesday Israel's decision to quit the south but warned the Jewish state to expect turbulent borders if the withdrawal precedes a peace agreement.

On Monday, Israel formally told the United Nations it intends to end its 22-year-old occupation by July 7, prompting fresh warnings from Beirut of a surge in violence if withdrawal occurs without a peace deal with Lebanon's political master, Syria.

Lebanese Prime Minister Selim al-Hoss said the retreat was a landmark victory. "For the first time in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, Israel is forced to leave Arab territories," Hoss said.

But separately he warned that only peace would guarantee an orderly withdrawal and secure borders for Israel, adding that Lebanon refused to be responsible for any frontier violence or the fierce Israeli reprisals likely to follow.

"If Israel, one of the Middle East's biggest military powers, cannot keep its border with Lebanon secure, how can it hold Lebanon responsible?" he was quoted as saying. "Border security is linked to stability, and this cannot be achieved without a comprehensive peace settlement.

"Since Israel is avoiding a peace, it is totally responsible for any breaches of the border. An agreement ensures an orderly, problem-free withdrawal. We would have liked the withdrawal to occur within the framework of an agreement," Hoss added.

South Lebanon is the Middle East's last active battlefront, with guerrillas fighting Israel's occupation. Lebanese President Emile Lahoud has raised the specter of attacks on Israel by Palestinians from Lebanon — reviving an image from Lebanon's civil war.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, under internal pressure to end losses, vowed to quit what many Israelis call a quagmire. Barak said he wanted to leave as part of peace with Syria but after failed negotiations, decided to withdraw unilaterally.

Syrian-Israeli peace talks broke down in January over Israeli reluctance to discuss returning the Golan Heights, occupied since 1967. A summit meeting between President Clinton and Syrian President Hafez al-Assad last month failed to revive negotiations.

Damascus supports the Hezbollah guerrillas fighting Israel. Its influence had been seen as pressure on Israel to return the Golan — a bargaining chip Israel said it would neutralize by withdrawal.

On Tuesday, a foreign ministry spokesman in Damascus said Syria was pleased for Lebanon, but wanted Israel to implement all U.N. resolutions calling for return of occupied Arab land.

Some official media suggested Israel had a "wicked plan" to redeploy. "The Israeli withdrawal will not be complete and leave the door open for more trouble," wrote Fouad Mardoud, editor in chief of the official Tishreen Times.

However, in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Foreign Minister David Levy said withdrawal would be to the international border and would be implemented in one phase.

Beirut's An-Nahar newspaper, in a front-page editorial, tempered its exuberance at the withdrawal with concern.

"This moment of joy is coupled with a great deal of caution," wrote Sahar Baasiri. "Israel has turned its implementation of U.N. resolution 425 into a ball of fire which it has thrown in our hands, but it should know that we can throw it right back."