“Israel still has not satisfied the UN’s demand to withdraw completely from Lebanon because of its illegal occupation of Shebaa Farms.”
Despite the UN ruling that Israel completed its withdrawal from southern Lebanon,16 Hizballah and the Lebanese government insist that Israel still holds Lebanese territory in eastern Mount Dov, a 100-square-mile, largely uninhabited patch called Shebaa Farms. This claim provides Hizballah with a pretext to continue its activities against Israel. Thus, after kidnapping three Israeli soldiers in that area, it announced that they were captured on Lebanese soil.
Israel, which has built a series of observation posts on strategic hilltops in the area, maintains that the land was captured from Syria; nevertheless, the Syrians have supported Hizballah’s claim. The controversy benefits each of the Arab parties, according to the Washington Post. “For Syria, it means Hizballah can still be used to keep the Israelis off balance; for Lebanon, it provides a way to apply pressure over issues, like the return of Lebanese prisoners still held in Israeli jails. For Hizballah, it is a reason to keep its militia armed and active, providing a ready new goal for a resistance movement that otherwise had nothing left to resist.”17
In January 2005, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution condemned the violence along the Israel-Lebanon border and reasserted that the Lebanese claim to the Shebaa Farms area is “not compatible with Security Council resolutions” affirming that Israel completely withdrew from Lebanon.
“If they go from Sheba
— Hizballah spokesperson Hassan Ezzedin18
16“Security Council Endorses Secretary-General’s Conclusion on Israeli Withdrawal from Lebanon as of 16 June,” UN Press Release, (June 18, 2000).
17Washington Post, (January 30, 2001).
18New Yorker, (October 14, 2002).
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