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Concerns in Beirut over Shebaa Farms Following Trump’s Golan Decision

Concerns in Beirut over Shebaa Farms Following Trump’s Golan Decision

Friday, 29 March, 2019 - 07:30
Spanish UN peacekeepers patrol in the disputed Shebaa Farms area between Lebanon and Israel, overlooking the divided border village of Ghajar, southeast Lebanon, Tuesday Feb. 24, 2015. (AP /Hussein Malla)
Beirut - Paula Astih

The recent move of US President Donald Trump to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights has caused concern among Lebanese officials that Washington’s decision would mean recognizing the occupied Shebaa Farms as Israeli territory.

Lebanon says the zone is Lebanese territory while Israel considers it part of the Golan.

The United Nations has long held the area was inside Syrian territory occupied by Israeli forces in the 1967 Middle East war. But Beirut says Israel should have withdrawn from the zone when it pulled its forces out of south Lebanon in 2000.

Damascus also stressed that the zone is Lebanese territory.

“Our occupied lands were never part of the Golan Heights,” a Lebanese official told Asharq Al-Awsat.

However, Riad Kahwaji, founder and chief executive of the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis in Dubai, said that as long as Israel considers the Shebaa Farms, the Kfarshouba hills and the northern part of Ghajar Village as parts of the Golan Heights, then the latest US decision obviously includes Israel’s sovereignty on territories annexed to the Golan.

In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, Kahwaji explained that Lebanon possesses maps proving that the Shebaa Farms were occupied by Syria in the 1950s.

"The world is witnessing a black day," Lebanese President Michel Aoun said on Twitter this week following Trump’s decision.

For his part, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah declared “resistance” as the only way to take back occupied lands in Syria, Lebanon and Palestine.

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