Wednesday, November 17, 2010

(NEWS) Israel Agrees To Withdraw From Lebanon Border Village

Video below: "Israel is to withdraw troops from part of a village which straddles the country's border with Lebanon, in a move that honours the ceasefire agreement which ended the war between the two countries.

Officials said withdrawing from the northern part of the Arab village of Ghajar will mark the final implementation by Israel of UN Security Council resolution 1701, agreed at the end of the war between Israel and the Lebanese Shi'ite Hizbollah in 2006. The resolution called on Israel to withdraw all its forces from southern Lebanon.

The details and timing of the Israeli pullback will be coordinated with UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon), the UN peacekeeping force deployed in south Lebanon, which will take control of the area evacuated by Israel.

Israeli officials expressed the hope that the move would curry international favour, at a time when the Jewish state is under intense pressure to make territorial concessions in peace talks with the Palestinians.

The village of Ghajar, with a population today of 2,200, was captured by Israel from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day war. Even though the residents are Alawites, the Islamic group that rules Syria, most chose to become Israeli citizens.

The Israeli withdrawal will mark the first time that Israel has conceded any of the occupied Golan Heights, captured from Syria.

The UN determined that the border between Israel and Lebanon runs through the village, with only the southern half belonging to Israel.

The residents of Ghajar are angry over the planned Israeli withdrawal, claiming that the decision was taken without consulting them.

Hatib Ballal said it is a big mistake to divide the village in two.

'We used to be part of Syria, so why are they making us part of Lebanon?'

'Dividing the village will mean residents in the northern half will be cut off from their land in Israel.'" (source)

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