Wed, Nov 24, 2010 | The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
Negative Reactions in Lebanon to Israeli Decision to Withdraw from Ghajar
On November 17 Israel’s ministerial security committee decided in principle to accept the September 2, 2010 proposal of the UN and the UNIFIL commander to withdraw from the northern part of the village of Ghajar to complete its withdrawal from Lebanon (in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1701).
The Lebanese government and Hezbollah greeted the Israeli decision with suspicion. Some also said that it would be incomplete if Israel did not also withdraw from the Shebaa Farms.
— Sources close to the Lebanese government, who remained anonymous, claimed they had not yet received information from UNIFIL about the details of the expected withdrawal and that the Lebanese government would not regard the withdrawal as complete until Lebanese forces deployed in the village, and until Israel evacuated other Lebanese territory [i.e., the Shebaa Farms] and ceased flyovers in Lebanese air space (Jerusalem Post, November 20, 2010).
— Hussein Khalil, political advisor to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, said that despite the withdrawal “Hezbollah still needs weapons,” and that Israel still held the Shebaa Farms and the hills of the village of Shuba (Al-Arabiya TV, November 20 2010).
— Mohammad Ra’ad, a Hezbollah faction member in the Lebanese Parliament, called the Israeli decision “‘a trick cooked up at night with the UN and its secretary general’ to show that Israel was implementing UN resolutions” (Lebanese Daily Star, November 22, 2010).
— Omar Mussawi, responsible for Hezbollah’s public relations, demanded that Israel withdraw not only from Ghajar, but from the Shebaa Farms, and that it “stop its military operations…against Lebanese civilians” (Al-Masri Al-Yawm, November 18, 2010).
Residents of Ghajar expressed dissatisfaction with the decision and said they hoped it would not be implemented. They complained that no one had consulted them about the withdrawal and expected it to create a series of problems (AP, November 20, 2010; Ynet, November 18, 2010).