Israel set to present Lebanese border plan to UN

Israel plans to withdraw from the northern part of a disputed Lebanese border and hand over control of the area to the UN peacekeeping force in line with a Security Council resolution, a media report said.

Updated: Nov 07, 2010, 21:40 PM IST

Jerusalem: Israel plans to withdraw from
the northern part of a disputed Lebanese border and hand over
control of the area to the UN peacekeeping force in line with
a Security Council resolution, a media report said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will inform
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon about the move on Monday in
New York, the report quoted government sources as saying.

The plan to withdraw and hand over control of the
disputed Ghajar village on the Lebanese border to the United
Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) peacekeeping force
deployed there is likely to face hostile reaction from local
residents unhappy at the division of their village, the media
said.

In 2000, when the United Nations demarcated the
border, Ghajar`s northern half was allocated to Lebanese
control, but it was retaken by Israel during the 2006 Lebanon
war.

Ghajar, which has around 2,200 residents, almost all
of them from the Druze community, lying on the borders of
Lebanon, Syria and the Golan Heights came under Israeli
control in the 1967 Middle East war and was annexed in by the
Jewish state in 1981, a move not recognised by the
international community.

The villagers were Syrian nationals when Israel
occupied the region, but they took Israeli nationality when
the Golan was annexed.

Council and residents spokesman, Najib Hatib, told
Ynet that the residents are determined to prevent the division
of their village and UN entry into the village.

"We are prepared to die, but this division will not
come to be," Hatib told the news portal.

The international border between Israel and Lebanon
runs through the middle of the village. According to UN
Resolution 1701, which ended the Second Lebanon War, Israel
was required to cease all operations north of the border.

Plans to withdraw from the northern sector of Ghajar
village are said to have been recently discussed with senior
officials from the UNIFIL, entrusted with the responsibility
of maintaining peace on Israel-Lebanon border.

The residents of the village, however, oppose the
partition plan and last year some 1,800 of them protested
against it.

Syria maintains that Israel must return the whole
of Golan Heights to them in any peace deal.

PTI