Photo: Mussa Diab
Arab MKs in Ghajar
Photo: Mussa Diab
MK Bishara in Ghajar: We won't let you become refugees
Arab Knesset members visit northern village, declare they will fight against handing over its northern part to UNIFIL. 'Residents cannot live like in a military regime, being checked at roadblocks,' Bishara states
The 1,200 residents of the village of Ghajar in the northern border received some political support on Sunday.


Knesset Members Wasil Taha and Azmi Bishara (National Democratic Assembly) met with village officials and representatives in order to hear about their distress in light of the government's decision to hand the village's northern part over to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), in accordance with UN Resolution 1701.


"The Arab village of Ghajar was conquered in '67 along with the Golan Heights and is an inseparable part of Syria. Its status must not be changed until the Golan Heights is discussed," MK Bishara told Ynet.


"We came here following many appeals by residents who fear that two-thirds of them will be forced to move to Lebanese territory. I plan to turn to the Lebanese leaders Lahoud and Siniora, and to the Syrian leadership, and make it clear that we will not let these residents be turned into refugees who are separated from one another," he added.


Bishara, who toured both parts of the village, learned about the problems which would be created when it is divided.

MKs in meeting with village leaders (Photo: Mussa Diab)


"The residents cannot live like in a military regime, being checked at roadblocks when entering and leaving the village. Today the food supply is already unloaded at the entrance and they are forced to take the food into the village themselves. The UN is also expected to build barbed wire fences which will divide the northern and southern parts."


According to Bishara, Ghajar's fate must be decided in direct negotiations with Syria. The MK added that he plans to hold an urgent meeting at the Knesset, along with other factions which oppose the village's division according to the resolution.


Bishara said that the State of Israel is responsible for taking care of the village these days and is failing to do so.


'Children will be humiliated'  

The Arab MKs' visit was warmly welcomed by many of the village residents.


"This is a political move which began at the UN, and I hope the politicians in the Knesset will know how to deal with it," said Adal, a village resident. "We, the simple citizens, are giving a chance to any elements that wants to influence and prevent the UN from dividing the village and tearing apart entire families."


"Our children are about to be humiliated, when on their way to school they will be forced to undergo security checks, and no one pays attention to this. Today we barely receive services from Israel Electric, Bezeq (phone company) and medical elements because they fear the security situation, so what will happen after the UN deploys in the northern part of the village?"


About two weeks ago, UNIFIL representatives visited the village and met with the council head and other village dignitaries. At the end of the meeting, the organization representatives were asked to leave the place, after the sides made no progress ahead of the deployment of UN forces, which is expected to being toward the end of December.


פרסום ראשון: 12.24.06, 17:23
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