Israel Hands Over Land to LebanonNovember 17, 2010 - 6:47 AM | by: Yonat Friling
The Israeli cabinet has authorized the pull-out from one of the most sensitive locations along the border with Lebanon, the village of Ghajar.
The village of Ghajar is divided into Israeli and Lebanese territory. There is an Israeli Military Check post in the entrance to the village, and a fence surrounding the entire village, but no fence or barrier dividing the Israeli and Lebanese sides of the village.
Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000 effectively cut the village in half, leaving residents of the northern part – which is inside Lebanese territory – in limbo. Lebanon does not enforce its sovereignty there, and there is some Hezbollah Presence in the village. The open border between the two parts of the village has also made it attractive for smugglers of weapons and drugs.
During the past two years Israel and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) have been conducting ongoing negotiations over the village’s security arrangements, as well as regulations that would allow the residents of the northern portion of the village, who are Israeli citizens, to continue receiving essential services from Israel.
Control of the territory would then be transferred to the UNIFIL, which would also be responsible for preventing terrorists and criminals from crossing through the village.