Hizbullah: Arms needed for resistance against Israel

Group says Israeli withdrawal from Ghajar does not negate need for defense; Lebanese diplomatic source demands additional withdrawal.

Lebanese Soldiers 311 (photo credit: Associated Press)
Lebanese Soldiers 311
(photo credit: Associated Press)
LEBANON — Hizbullah's weapons are still necessary to defend the country despite Israel's decision to pull out of a disputed border village, a senior official with the group said Saturday.
The comments of Hussein Khalil, the political adviser to Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah, came three days after Israel announced its decision to withdraw from the northern half of Ghajar.

Khalil said that even if Israel pulled out the village, it is still occupying the disputed Sheba Farms captured from Syria four decades ago.
"The resistance and its weapons are still a national need to liberate remaining occupied Lebanese territories especially Sheba Farms," Khalil told reporters after meeting Christian leader Michel Aoun, a strong ally of Hizbullah.
Also on Saturday, a Lebanese diplomat warned that the planned Israeli withdrawal from Ghajar would not satisfy the country's demands.
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 Sheba Farms.

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.

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 through Ghajar.

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 perimeter.

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 Sheba 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.