Israel is planning to leave the Occupied Lebanese town of Ghajar. But not all of it.
Ghajar is a town which straddles the Lebanese-Syrian border at the foothills of the Golan. It’s nowhere near Israel, but IDF troops have been occupying it for decades. Now, they are planning to leave the Lebanese part of Ghajar, but remain on the Syrian side of the town.
After the 2006 war, Israel built a fence around the town isolating it from both Lebanon and Syria. Remarkably, the 2000 people who live in Ghajar have not fled their home town, even though non residents from both sides are banned from entering – effectively meaning these people live in no-man’s-land.
Israel claims some residents hold both Israeli and Lebanese passports – although this would be illegal under the laws of both countries.
So why does Israel not want to wash its hands of the tiny town? Why leave the Lebanese section and stay in the Syrian section of Ghajar? It’s all politics.
Lebanon’s Prime Minister Fouad Siniora claims Israel wants to distract attention from the capture of a series of spy-networks on Lebanese soil.
Ghajar is at the base of the Golan Heights – Syrian land which Israel has occupied since 1967. And of course, Israel doesn’t want to leave one inch of Syrian land before a grand-deal is agreed, so it is stubbornly keeping its troops in the southern part of Ghajar.
And that means part of this tiny town is about to be liberated, while the other part continues to live under occupation.