Israel to mull ceding part of Ghajar village

Foreign Ministry reportedly against move to give up control of northern part of village, split by border.

ghajar 298.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
ghajar 298.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Israel will consider letting UNIFIL control the northern part of the village of Ghajar, a village cut in half by the Israeli-Lebanese border. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert convened a limited discussion on the request, made by UNIFIL, and decided that Israel will discuss the idea with the UN. The IDF reportedly supports ceding part of Ghajar but the Foreign Ministry opposes the move, Army Radio reported. The IDF wishes to avoid clashing with UNIFIL while it sees the northern part of Ghajar as having low strategic value. Foreign Ministry officials called on UNIFIL to "prevent Hizbullah from rearming before they make demands of Israel." The dispute over Ghajar began immediately after Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000. Lebanon and Hizbullah demanded that Israel withdraw from the northern half of the village, built on Lebanese soil. The residents of Ghajar hold Israeli identity cards and oppose becoming part of Lebanon, preferring to remain under Israeli rule. They see themselves as Syrian citizens and hope the village will become part of Syria in a future agreement between Jerusalem and Damascus.