Lebanese Soldiers 311.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
A Lebanese diplomat Saturday warned that a planned Israeli withdrawal from the northern border town of Ghajar would not satisfy the country's demands. In
so doing, Israel has abided by Security Council Resolution 425 from
1978, under which the UN, in 2000, determined that the Israeli
withdrawal line from Lebanon – known as the Blue Line – should run
In a statement reported by Lebanese newspaper Nahar, the diplomatic source said that even if UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL)
forces are deployed in the divided town, the government would not consider the withdrawal complete until the Lebanese army is
deployed in the village. He added that Lebanon expects Israel to also withdraw from the nearby Shaba Farms.
Security Cabinet okays Ghajar unilateral withdrawal
Cabinet set to approve unilateral withdrawal from Ghajar
Earlier this week, the security cabinet approved the pullout in principle, based on a UNIFIL plan put forward by its commander, Gen. Alberto Asarta Cuevas. It asked the Foreign Ministry to finalize the withdrawal details with UNIFIL.
Ghajar, an Alawite village of 2,210 people, is located on the Golan
Heights and sits on a strategic corner where the boundaries between
Syria, Lebanon and Israel are in dispute.
It is anticipated that once the IDF withdraws into the southern part of
the village, UNIFIL would then be stationed along Ghajar’s northern
According to the Lebanese diplomat, Lebanon has not received any notification from UNIFIL regarding the planned withdrawal, Nahar reported.
The source continued, saying that should such a withdrawal take place,
"the majority's [the Western-aligned Hariri government] position would
be bolstered at the national dialogue, while the opposition [Hizbullah]
would have to acknowledge" the government's choice to resort to
diplomacy, effectively undermining the legitimacy of Hizbullah's armed
presence on the Lebanese-Israeli border.
However, the report noted that Lebanon would not view a withdrawal as
fulfilling international resolutions, saying that it still expects
Israel to withdraw from the disputed Shaba Farms and "respect Lebanon's
sovereignty by ending its daily air, land and sea violations against
Lebanon and dismantling its spy networks in the country."
US, European and United Nations officials have all praised the Israeli
decision to withdraw from the northern half of the town "in line with UN
Resolution 1701," which ended the 2006 Lebanon War.
Meanwhile, Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berry on Thursday said,
"Whether the Israeli move toward Ghajar is considered a political
maneuver or delayed awareness of Resolution 1701, which required Israel
to withdraw from Lebanese territory in the wake of the July 2006 war,
thus the return of every inch of Lebanese territory is the return of the
right [land] to its rightful owners," according to Hizbullah's al-Manar.
But Berri added, "Pending a unified Lebanese stance on how to deal with the
Israeli move and read the dimensions and timing [of the plan], we will
keep echoing the same thing from Ghajar, that the 'Resistance will remain
a national need,'" al-Manar reported.
Hizbullah MP Kamel al-Rifai called the planned Israeli withdrawal a move
intended "to shift attention and elude the international resolution,"
referring to UNSC resolution 1701, according to the report.
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this story.