The Jerusalem Post reports that Israel is willing to withdraw from the Shaba Farms.
Israel has expressed to the US government its willingness to withdraw from the Shaba Farms and the northern half of the town of Rajar, on the border with Lebanon, after receiving guarantees from Beirut that the areas would be under UNIFIL control, according to a Lebanese source quoted by the London-based Arab daily Asharq Alawsat, Tuesday.
The source reportedly said that General Claudio Graziano, the commander of the UN force in southern Lebanon, had succeeded in convincing Israel to withdraw from the disputed territories in a series of meeting with Israeli officials.
UNIFIL spokesperson Yasmina Bouzianne confirmed the report, adding that she hoped that a final agreement would be reached soon.
An Israeli diplomatic official was quoted by the paper as saying that the agreement was reached in a telephone conversation between Graziano and Defense Minister Ehud Barak in mid-August.
“An Israeli withdrawal from the Shaba Farms will leave Hizbullah with no more excuses to fight Israel,” the official was quoted as saying. “If Israel hands over those territories it will become clear to the Lebanese people that Hizbullah’s continued use of violence is nothing more than an excuse to continue its involvement in international terror.”
If this is the sole reason why Israel has agreed to hand over the Shaba farms, then I think it is a mistake. Hizbullah will not stop their violence against Israel, and will claim they are fighting the Zionists who have occupied the land of the palestinians for whom they care deeply. They will vow to fight Israel until every inch of “Palestine” has been liberated. And I suspect the Lebanese people will be fine with this, especially considering the existence of palestinian “refugees” in Lebanon.