Shebaa Farms on Israel-Lebanon Border Gets New Attention

[ Christian Science Monitor] Nicholas Blanford - A tiny sliver of rugged mountainside wedged between Lebanon and the Golan Heights is being reassessed by the U.S. and Israel. Israeli troops took the area during the 1967 war. In 2000, the UN ruled that the Shebaa Farms was Syrian territory, and its fate was tied to future peace talks between Israel and Syria. Lebanon, backed by Syria, disputed the ruling and Hizbullah launched a campaign of raids against Israeli troops in the Shebaa Farms. After the 2006 war, the UN, at the behest of the Lebanese government, agreed to reexamine Lebanon's case for the Shebaa Farms, and proposed that Israel pull out of the Farms and hand jurisdiction to UNIFIL. Until recently, Israel was reluctant to yield the Shebaa Farms. But now, as it is engaged in indirect peace talks with Syria, Israel shifted position last month, saying it was willing to pull out its troops and turn the Farms over to UN jurisdiction. The move was given further impetus when U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in mid-June that "the time has come to deal with the Shebaa Farms issue."

2008-07-09 01:00:00

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