A United Nation's cartographer has determined, contrary to the world body's earlier ruling, that Israel did not withdraw from all Lebanese territory in 2000.
When Israel dismantled its southern Lebanon security zone, the UN confirmed that the Israeli pullout had been complete, rejecting claims by Lebanon and its Hizballah terrorist militia that a small area known as the Sheba Farms was also Lebanese territory.
Jerusalem is warning that a UN cartographer's decision to now legitimize the Lebanese claims could be used by Hizballah to justify another eruption of violence along the border.
According to Ha'aretz, the UN, ahead of officially accepting the cartographer's findings, has asked Israel to surrender the Sheba Farms to international control until the dispute can be resolved. Israel reportedly rejected the request, which UN officials later denied making.
If Hizballah uses the new controversy as grounds for fresh attacks on the Jewish state, Israeli military officials are warning that new defense budget cuts will make it even harder for them to battle the Lebanese militia.
Smelling what they perceive to be fear, Hizballah's leaders say Israel cannot stomach another war, providing the Arabs with a clear advantage.
In an interview with Iran's IRNA news agency on Tuesday, the leader of Hizballah forces in southern Lebanon, Sheikh Nabil Kaouk, said that “it will take the Israeli army a long time to rehabilitate its military and morale before it will be ready for another war” with his group.
Of even greater concern is the growing possibility that low-level conflict with Hizballah could explode into full-scale war with Syria. Israeli officials are warning that a war with Syria would be 10 times worse than last summer's Second Lebanon War, and would likely see Syria fire hundreds of long-range missiles, possibly tipped with chemical and biological warheads, at the Jewish state.