Report: Lebanon Recovers Parcel of Land 'Usurped' by Israel in 1948
Lebanon recovered two square kilometers (less than one square mile) of territory "usurped" by Israel when the Jewish state was created in 1948, Lebanese state television reported.
The report said that, on the third day of the latest round of checks on Israeli violations of its border with Lebanon, the Israelis moved back the barbed wire marking the border near the Israeli town of Manara, which faces the Lebanese villages of Hula and Meiss al-Jabal.
Lieutenant Colonel Amine Hoteit, chief of the Lebanese detachment responsible for Lebanese monitoring of the border, said that when this happened he felt like "I opened the doors of paradise in recovering the rights of our people for generations past, present and future."
Israel withdrew its troops from southern Lebanon in May, ending 22 years of occupation.
Although the UN Security Council certified the pullback on June 23rd, deployment of UN peacekeeping forces in the area has been delayed because Lebanon said Israel was still encroaching on its territory in nine places.
Lebanese experts and those from the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) continued their border verifications on Wednesday, reaching for the first time the former Israeli army position at Aabbad, which overlooks the Israeli town of Kyriat Shmona to the east and where Israeli soldiers still occupied part of that position, the television reported.
Verification work is to continue on Thursday and could still take several days, it was learned from the team of experts, who have declined since Monday to provide details on the current operation.
Certification that Israel has stopped all encroachments into Lebanese territory would open the way for the deployment of UN peacekeepers in southern Lebanon.
On Friday, Israeli Ambassador Yehuda Lancry wrote a letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan that confirmed the Jewish state's commitment to correcting any outstanding violations by its troops of the borders.
UN Security Council Resolution 425, passed in 1978 after Israel's invasion of Lebanon, calls for UNIFIL to be deployed along the frontier to help "restore international peace and security" after the Israeli withdrawal -- BEIRUT (AFP)
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