Policy Options regarding Shebaa Farms

The "return" of the Shebaa Farms has become a core Lebanese demand. This issue may turn to be the main obstacle for a reaching a ceasefire

The Shebaa farms have become a core issue that could lead negotiations on a ceasefire with Lebanon to a deadlock.

Israel and Lebanon have inversed positions regarding the sequence of events leading to a cease fire:

  • Lebanon included the Israeli withdrawal from the Shebaa farms in its seven-points plan to achieve a ceasefire. PM Siniora asked the UN Security Council to place this area under UN jurisdiction until the permanent settlement of the matter.
    Siniora further declared that the deployment of the Lebanese army in the south of the country is conditional upon Israel's immediate withdrawal from all Lebanese territory, including the Shebaa farms.
  • Israel declared to be willing to consider pulling out from the Shebaa farms, but only after Lebanon will have fully complied with UN Resolution 1559, by disarming Hizbullah. Israel also requested an international declaration recognizing the Shebaa farms as part of the Lebanese territory.

Policy options

If Israel decides to insist on disarmament during or prior to the resolution of the outstanding issues, it should prepare for a deadlock and avoid negotiations on the Shebaa Farms.

Otherwise, it should work to resolve the outstanding issues either directly with the Lebanese government, or through a third party.

Moreover, Israel should demand that the Lebanon present a final list of the outstanding issues, including the Shebaa Farms, between Lebanon and Israel. This step may undermine Hizbullah's efforts to renew the struggle against Israel based on claims that are not included in the list

Sources

  • Fouad Siniora, The Washington Post, 08/09/06. Full text.
  • Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz, 09/08/06. Full text.
  • Aluf Benn and Amos Harel, Haaretz, 30/07/06. Full text.
  • Agence France Presse, 07/08/06.
  • SANA, 24/07/06. Full text.