Lebanon Gets UN Troops' Families to Leave Israel
The Lebanese government has forced families of United Nations peacekeepers in Lebanon to move their homes across the border from Israel, a UN officer said.
The families of officers and administrative military personnel had been living in Naharia, northern Israel, for safety reasons during the Jewish state's occupation of southern Lebanon which ended in May.
From October 1 Lebanese authorities began preventing relatives from crossing the border, the officer of the UN Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) told AFP Tuesday.
"Our soldiers have had to bow to the Lebanese demands and families have already moved into Tyre and Beirut," he said.
On Friday, Lebanese police at the Naqura border crossing also stopped relatives of UN non-military personnel entering Lebanon from Israel, but the UNIFIL officer said they "had misunderstood the Lebanese government's new policy."
Since UNIFIL was deployed in 1978, the Lebanese government has understood that for security reasons UN families could live in northern Israel, said a diplomatic source.
"But with Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon on May 24, Lebanon no longer sees a reason for this policy," the diplomat said.
For the most part only UNIFIL military officers and some administrators have brought their families to the region. The number of spouses, children and servants is estimated to be no more than 100.
The majority of the 6,000 troops and other employees come alone -- BEIRUT (AFP)
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