UN: Cartographer to survey Shabaa Farms

Monday, October 30, 2006 |  by Staff Writer
The UN has appointed a cartographer to draw the border lines of the disputed Shabaa Farms in the northern Golan Heights. The cartographer will use all data available to the UN in order to reach a topographic definition for the land.

Estimates by professional sources say that the cartography tests will last a long time. Sources in Israel estimate that at the end of the process, the UN will begin steps to resolve the dispute over the territory.

The issue of the Shabaa farms has been in dispute for many years. According to different experts, it is a 14 kilometer long, and 2 kilometer wide strip of territory in the vicinity of Mt. Dov on the northernmost edge of the Golan Heights.

Lebanon claims that the territory belongs to them and is demanding that Israel withdraws from it. Israel, however, claims that the territory belongs to Syria, which could be used as a negotiating issue in any future peace talks with Syria, and has no intention of giving it to Lebanon.

Sources in Israel say that if Syria approves that Lebanon receive the farms, Israel will contemplate entering negotiations with Lebanon on the fate of the disputed territory. In addition, Israel is claiming that whoever is pressuring Israel into leaving Shabba Farms is creating a non-existing conflict between Israel and Lebanon.

The farms, however, are mentioned in UN resolution 1701 which was adopted after the war in Lebanon. Lebanon demanded that there be an unequivocal withdrawal from the farms. Israel opposed the move, and ultimately the language in the resolution was very minor saying that there is a need to resolve the issue. Israel is not obligated under the resolution to withdraw from the farms and the issue was not even suggested in the document.

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