IDF work along the border with Lebanon has raised tensions with Beirut,
prompting the commander of UNIFIL to convene an urgent meeting of officers from
both countries on Wednesday.
Tensions mounted earlier this week when IDF
engineering teams began work on the border road along Mount Dov, also known as
the Shaba Farms, a piece of land that Israel controls.
peacekeepers were scrambled to the border to prevent violence between the IDF
and soldiers from the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) who also arrived at the scene
and claimed that the Israeli soldiers had crossed the border.
Due to the
incident, UNIFIL commander Maj.-Gen. Paolo Serra decided to convene an urgent
tripartite meeting with IDF and LAF representatives on Wednesday at the
peacekeeping force’s base at the Nakoura Crossing.
The size of the Shaba
farms and the sovereignty over the land has been at the heart of disagreements
between Israel, Lebanon, Syria and the United Nations for
Hezbollah claims that the land belongs to Lebanon, while Israel
claims that it is actually Syrian and that it will withdraw from the land in the
framework of a comprehensive peace treaty with Damascus.
engineering teams began the work on the border several days ago in an effort to
expand the security patrol road on the Israeli side. In the future, the IDF
plans to replace the current border fence along the mountain with a more
sophisticated barrier as part of general renovations it is doing along the
North of Metulla, for example, the IDF began Monday to
construct a 2 km. concrete wall to prevent clashes between military forces on
both sides of the border.
Israel’s border with Lebanon has been
relatively quiet in the nearly six years that have passed since the Second
Lebanon War in 2006. Two years ago, however, Lt.-Col. Dov Harari, a reserve
battalion commander, was shot dead by an LAF sniper. Harari was overseeing
troops who were trimming trees along the border to improve visibility for
Serra said that the purpose of the meeting on Wednesday
would be to lower tensions and prevent violence.
“The focus of this
meeting will be on one issue – IDF patrol road construction works in the area of
Shaba farms and the need to preserve stability in this area,” he
The IDF Spokesman’s Office said that the military was doing work to
improve the infrastructure on Mount Dov and was in contact with UNIFIL.