The National Security Cabinet has decided to adopt the proposal calling for Israel to withdraw from the northern part of the Lebanese border village of Ghajar and to hand over responsibility there to the UN peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon.
Israel occupied the Lebanese part of the village, which straddles along the border, to prevent arms smuggling and infiltrations.
It should be noted that this agreement was the first that was reached under UN mediation in Lebanon without Hizbullah’s intervention.
Over the past several weeks the National Security Council and IDF representatives have been deliberating the possible solutions available to solve the problem of the halved village. The council also maintained close contact with Lebanese officials throughout this time via UN arbitrators. The alternatives that will be presented on Sunday to the cabinet are, among other things, a result of this contact.
Ghajar's residents hold Israeli ID cards, this despite the fact the northern half of the village is on proper Lebanese territory. Over the years residents of the Lebanese side have connected to Israeli infrastructure and state services and have conveyed their desire to remain Israeli citizens. The unique situation of Ghajar has prevented Israel and Lebanon from reaching an agreement on the matter which would have split the village in two.
Shortly before his health incapacitated him, a plan for Ghajar's problem was presented to former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. The plan, prepared by then National Security Council chief, Maj. Gen. (res) Giora Eiland, was presented to the public but never came into being. Now after the second war in Lebanon Israel seeks to resolve the Ghajar issue – whether through a UN monitoring force or by transferring the northern residents under Israel's sovereignty.
According to the approved proposal, the UN may monitor both halves of the village. Residents who wish to do so, will continue to maintain