Israel suddenly ready to make concessions to Lebanon

Wednesday, June 18, 2008 |  by Staff Writer

The government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Wednesday broke with Israel's traditional position on its conflict with Lebanon, and signaled a willingness to meet its northern neighbor's territorial demands.

The Lebanese government, acting as a mouthpiece of the Iranian-backed Hizballah terrorist militia, insists that a strategic mountain area in the northern Golan Heights known as the Shebaa Farms belongs to Lebanon.

That despite the fact that the United Nations has certified that the territory is in fact part of the Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War.

Until now, the international community has sided with Israel on the Shebaa Farms dispute.

But several Arab newspapers reported this week that the Bush Administration had adopted the Arab position, and that when US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Beirut on Monday she told Lebanese leaders that Israel would soon be compelled to withdraw from the Shebaa Farms region.

According to one of the papers, President Bush recently asked the UN to reexamine the ownership of the Shebaa Farms and to include its conclusions in an upcoming report on the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War. The conclusions that the UN is expected to reach would reportedly oblige Israel to surrender the territory.

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