Wed, Nov 17, 2010 | By Crethi Plethi
Israel Plans To Withdraw Unilaterally From Ghajar
Israel’s security cabinet is expected Wednesday to endorse a plan to unilaterally withdraw the IDF from the northern part of Ghajar, an area where the boundaries between Israel, Syria and Lebanon are in dispute. Approval of the plan would place the northern part of the village in Lebanese hands as mandated by the U.N. in a cease-fire agreement [according to UN resolution 1701].
The IDF will secure the Israel-Lebanon border south of Ghajar and UNIFIL will have the responsibility of preventing the entry of infiltrators and terrorists in the northern part of the village. It’s expected that the security cabinet will instruct the IDF to discuss the security arrangements for the withdrawal with UNIFIL within the next month.
On Sunday [November 07], FM Lieberman said during a press conference that “It would have been possible to come to a tripartite agreement among Israel, the UN and Lebanon a while ago,” but he accused Lebanon and Hizbullah of undermining the plan. “We told the prime minister that maybe the time had come to reach an agreement with the UN and not to wait for Lebanon.”
Last week [Monday, November 08], Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had a meeting in New York on the matter. Netanyahu presented Ban a proposal to withdraw from the northern part of the village.
Israel captured the village from Syria during the Six Day War in 1967. When Israel withdrew its forces from southern Lebanon [in 2000], UN surveyors placed the border in the middle of the village, leaving Israel in control of the southern half. The IDF reoccupied the northern half of the area in the 2006 Lebanon war. In line with the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, Israel promised to withdraw from the northern half of the village, but has yet to do so.
About 2,000 people live in Ghajar, who are members of Islam’s Alawite sect. Most of the villagers want the village to remain united, regardless of who controls it.
Hizbullah will exploit Israel’s unilateral withdrawal as a victory. Hizbullah legislator Nawar Saheli told reporters in Beirut that “If the withdrawal happens, it won’t be doing it for free, but because of fear of the resistance and Lebanon’s strength through the resistance.”