Is Israel "Shrinking"?
Israel's security cabinet approved plans on Wednesday to withdraw troops from part of an occupied Lebanese village of Ghajar and hand over control to a UN peacekeeping force. The move represents another example where the Zionist state, established on the Palestinian and other Arab territories, is abandoning what it usurped by force to their legitimate owners.
A few years ago it abandoned Gaza Strip with a population of 1.5 million of Palestinians who many of them are refugees from other cities and towns now considered as parts of the state of Israel. "The ministerial committee on security decided today to accept the principle of a proposal by the United Nations and UNIFIL to withdraw IDF (Israel Defence Force) forces from the northern part of the village," cabinet secretary Zvi Hauser said in a statement as quoted by AFP. The move will see Israel pulling its troops out of the northern part of Ghajar village and redeploying south of the UN "blue line" demarcating the border, he said. "The United States encourages Israel and the UN to complete the technical details necessary to implement this proposal rapidly and thereby protect the rights of the affected civilians," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said.
The peacekeeping force UNIFIL ruled that north Ghajar lies in Lebanon and the rest lies in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, but Israel took over the Lebanese side too during its devastating 2006 war with the Lebanese resistance forces of Hezbollah. Following the pullback decision, responsibility for the sector will be handed to UNIFIL (the UN Interim Force in Lebanon), whose troops will redeploy around the village's northern perimeter but not inside it, officials said. A UNIFIL spokesman confirmed that the head of the Israeli foreign ministry had personally informed force commander Major General Alberto Asarta Cuevas of the security cabinet's decision. "We are awaiting formal notification in order to get more details.
It is also important to have a date for the IDF withdrawal from the area," Neeraj Singh told AFP in Beirut. The village, which has around 2,200 residents, lies on the borders of Lebanon, Syria and the Golan Heights, which Israel seized from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed in 1981 in a move not recognised by the international community. Most of the residents took Israeli citizenship after the annexation, and now hold dual Israeli and Syrian citizenship. The vast majority are against repartitioning the village, which would leave 1,700 people in the north and 500 on the Israeli side.
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