'UNIFIL to control north part of Ghajar'

UNIFIL to control north

Israel has agreed to a plan to turn over control of half of the northern village of Ghajar to UNIFIL, Israel Radio reported on Sunday night. According to the report, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu held a meeting earlier in the day and it was decided that Israel would leave the northern half of the village, and UNIFIL would take its place. No barrier would be built between the northern and southern parts of the village, according to the plan, but rather UNIFIL would patrol both the northern half and the perimeter. In the summer Netanyahu passed the issue to Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and asked for the ministry's recommendation. Ghajar has some 2,000 residents. When the IDF pulled out of Lebanon in 2000, the UN determined that the border ran through the middle of the town. Following the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Israel maintained a military presence in the northern part of the town and built a security fence around it. UN, European and American officials have long urged Israel to move out of northern Ghajar, to bolster the moderates in Lebanon, arguing that an Israeli withdrawal would be in line with commitments it made as part of UN Security Council Resolution 1701. Lieberman visited the town in August, amid reports that he favored building a physical barrier on the international border that divides the community, and turning the northern part over to UNIFIL control.