IDF Hands Over S. Lebanon Maps, Remains in Ghajar
Israel handed over detailed military maps of southern Lebanon to United Nations forces Monday, including the locations of landmines laid in the region, as part of the UN ceasefire resolution.
By Ezra HaLevi
First Publish: 10/10/2006, 10:12 AM / Last Update: 10/10/2006, 12:07 PM
Hizbullah has been demanding the maps ever since Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, under then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak. UN Security Council resolution 1701, accepted by the Olmert government to end this summer's war between Israel and Hizbullah, requires Israel to hand over the maps.
The maps were handed over, according to a UNIFIL statement, at a meeting between IDF, UNIFIL and Lebanese army officials in the Lebanese village of Nakoura,
UNIFIL has already handed copies of the maps over to the Lebanese army.
Israel laid the mines from 1982 through 2000. Maps have been provided in the past marking where minefields are located – but not disclosing the exact location of each mine.
IDF Remains on Both Sides of Ghajar
One of the outstanding issues between Israel and the UN is the continued IDF presence in Ghajar, an Arab village that straddles the border between Israel and Lebanon. When the village was liberated during the 1967 Six Day War, its residents were granted Israeli citizenship and it was annexed to Israel together with the rest of the Golan Heights.
In 2000, when the Barak government withdrew the IDF from Lebanon and requested UN approval of the new border, 60 percent of the village was transferred to Lebanese control. There is no divider within the village, however, and residents can move freely across the border. Up until the war this summer, residents of Ghajar could enter both Israel and Lebanon freely. The IDF has now erected a fence around the village and remains in the entire town until a solution is reached that will prevent it from being used as a Hizbullah intelligence base and drug-smuggling route, as it has been since the 2000 withdrawal. UNIFIL had hoped to replace the Israeli forces as of the end of last week.