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Photo: Avihu Shapira
Report: Israel to withdraw from north Ghajar in January
Lebanese paper reports retreat to be based on Security Council Resolution 1701, which calls for situation on ground to be returned to that before Second Lebanon War. According to report, Lebanon accepts proposal, Israel waiting on technicalities

Lebanese media continue to report of an impending Israeli withdrawal from the northern part of the village of Ghajar, on Israel's northern border. Al-Nahar newspaper reported on Tuesday that the United Nations is holding talks with Israel and Lebanon, according to which Israel will pull out of the northern part of the village by the end of next month.

 

According to the Lebanese paper, which cites American sources, an understanding was reached according to which Israel will withdraw to the blue line marked by the UN in the year 2000. The withdrawal will be in accordance with Security Council Resolution 1701, which demands the situation on the ground be restored as it was before the Second Lebanon War broke out.

 

The report said that Lebanon notified the UN of its approval of the plan and that Israel – despite not receiving the plan officially – informed UNIFIL commander General Claudio Graziano and UN Special Coordinator in Lebanon Michael Williams that it plans to retreat from the northern part of the village, but that it will continue to discuss with the UN a number of technical details on the matter.

 

According to the report, the UN and the United States hope that Israel's withdrawal from the northern part of Ghajar will lead to an ease in tensions between Israel and Lebanon.

 

The paper further states that US President Barack Obama's administration is following the matter closely and that Obama's envoy to Syria and Lebanon Frederick Hoff discussed the plan in his recent visit to the region.

 

According to the plan, after Israel withdraws from the area, 12 UNIFIL soldiers, an officer and three Lebanese soldiers will be deployed at the site. This under the condition that Israel's retreat from the northern part of the village does not bring about a change in the daily lives of the residents on both sides of the village, and that they be permitted free passage between the two parts.

 

In response to the report, Ghajar village spokesman Najib Khatib said: "Unfortunately the government in Jerusalem continues to treat the residents of the village with derision, and not as one should treat human beings.

 

"Once again we read and hear of our fate from the Lebanese and Israeli press without receiving an opportunity to express our position."

 

Hagai Einav contributed to this report

 

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