'Changing Golan border will be risky'

Defense officials say UN plan to redraw route may pose threat to nat'l security.

IDF fire 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
IDF fire 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
The defense establishment is fiercely opposed to a United Nations initiative to redraw Israel's border with Lebanon and ultimately revoke Israeli sovereignty over the Shaba Farms. A UN cartographer is expected to visit the Shaba Farms, also known as Mount Dov, in the coming weeks, sent by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to review the current border route along the 25-square-kilometer area located between Lebanon and the Golan Heights. Claimed by Hizbullah as Lebanese territory, Israel says the land was conquered from Syria during the Six Day War. Last month, Ban released a report on the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended last summer's war between Israel and Hizbullah. He wrote that he was reviewing a Lebanese plan to revoke Israeli rights over the area and to place the Shaba Farms under UN jurisdiction. Defense officials warned against setting a precedent by changing the border. "If the border is changed, then this could be dangerous for Israel's national security," a senior official said. France and the United States have in the past pressured Israel to withdraw from the area as part of an effort to strengthen Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora. The size and sovereignty over the Shaba Farms has been a matter of controversy since Israel withdrew from Lebanon in 2000. Israel says the area was part of Syria and therefore it does not need to withdraw until a peace agreement is reached with Damascus. Lebanon does not accept the demarcation line and continues to claim that the area is its territory. Also on Monday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said he was surprised to see how low the IDF's emergency stockpiles were. He said the shortage in supplies, including ammunition, was the result of cuts to the defense budget in recent years. In a meeting with military correspondents, Barak said the IDF needed to increase its manpower and to establish two new divisions that would give the IDF maneuverability on the battlefield. "The next war needs to be decided in enemy territory, with minimal damage to the home front," he said.