Tuesday, February 8, 2011
IDF not Leaving Ghajar
Israeli officials said on Monday that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) would not leave the southern half of the Druze village of Ghajar, which lies along the border with Lebanon, despite a previous agreement reached with the United Nations.
In an agreement signed last November, Israel agreed to pull its forces out of the northern half of Ghajar, which lies in Lebanon, according to the UN's “Blue Line" – the de facto border.
Israeli took over the area in the 1967 Six-Day War, but a later United Nations demarcation placed the northern half in Lebanon. The IDF again entered northern Ghajar during the 2006 war against Hizbullah.
However, "The plan was put on the back burner after Hizbullah brought down the Lebanese government" a senior Israel official told the French news agency AFP, referring to deposed prime minister Sa'ad Hariri.
"Israel agreed to hand over control of a certain part of the village to UNIFIL,” within a month, the official said, referring to the U.N. forces stationed along the border.
“But it was understood that (UNIFIL) needed a green light from the Lebanese government," the official said, noting that the government’s fall made it "impossible in the current situation to reach such an agreement with the Lebanese authorities.”
Most of the village's more than 2,000 residents have said that they prefer Israeli rule, and they have protested the planned retreat.