UN Concerned by Tense Situation in Divided Lebanese-Israeli Village
The United Nations has expressed concern that the tense situation in the divided Lebanese-Israeli village of Ghajar could lead to a “new unwanted flashpoint” along the border between the two countries, reported the Daily Star on Thursday.
This fear is given credence by warnings from the Israeli army that it will open fire on anyone entering the village from Lebanon whom it deems a security threat, said the paper.
Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer told Israel Radio on Wednesday that Hizbollah’s entry into the northern end of Ghajar was “a gross violation of the status quo,” adding that the Jewish state would “not tolerate” such a change.
Ghajar has joined other hot spots along the border such as the Fatima Gate crossing in Kfar Kila and Sheikh Abbad Hill near Houla, both the scenes of stone-throwing demonstrations in the wake of Israel’s troop withdrawal.
Israeli forces left in May 2000, leaving behind countless orphans, minefields, and ruined Lebanese infrastructure.
Ghajar is divided by the UN-delineated Blue Line, with the northern two-thirds falling inside Lebanese territory and the southern third lying inside Israeli-occupied Syria.
Despite its misgivings, the Israeli army has so far agreed with the residents not to split the village physically with a security fence.
The residents of Ghajar, most of whom obtained Israeli citizenship after the conquest of the Golan by Israel, want the village to be returned to Syria, said the paper - Albawaba.com