Israel plans eight-meter wall along Lebanese border

Israeli soldiers patrol the Lebanon-Israel border as seen from the southern Lebanese village of Wazzani, 1 August 2011. (Photo: Reuters – Ali Hashisho)

Al Akhbar Published Thursday, February 23, 2012

Israel plans to start work on a concrete wall along the border between Lebanon and northern Galilee in occupied Palestine in coming months, the UN’s force in south Lebanon confirmed.

The United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) informed the Lebanese army on Thursday that the Zionist state aims to build the 1km wall for security reasons.

The wall will extend from the plains of Khiam to the town of al-Addaiseh, passing through Fatima Gate, a former border crossing near the southern village of Kfar Kila.

The wall’s function is to allegedly protect Israeli positions from any attacks from Lebanon in the event of a future war with Lebanon, according to the Israeli army’s initial plan, which also mentioned that its height will not exceed eight meters.

However, a Lebanese military source said on the condition of anonymity that the wall’s length might be longer than 1km and could be as tall as 11 meters near Kfar Kila.

A tripartite meeting was held on Thursday afternoon between the Lebanese and Israeli armies and UNIFIL to discuss the wall’s impact on Lebanon.

The Lebanese army’s priority is to prevent Israel from crossing the Blue Line (a border demarcation between the countries) or other areas that are considered sensitive to Lebanon, the source said without elaborating.

A committee from Kfar Kila will oversee the construction to ensure the Israeli army does not trespass on Lebanese land.

Israel launched a war against Lebanon in July 2006, devastating parts of the country and killing at least 1,200 Lebanese civilians.

Israeli land forces attempted to invade Lebanon, but were fought back by Hezbollah fighters.

Hezbollah declined to comment when contacted.

Residents of the southern Lebanese towns voiced different opinions about the construction of the wall.

A restaurant owner near Fatima Gate objected to its building, saying it will “detrimentally affect tourism since many people come to the restaurant to see the occupied lands and the Israeli soldiers up close.”

A woman, whose house is a narrow road away from where the wall will be erected, hailed the project as good for her and her neighbors.

She said the wall would protect her three children from the Israeli army who might “attack at any moment” and will keep away the road dust kicked up by speeding Israeli military vehicles.

The woman’s 60-year-old neighbor agreed with her, saying “it will relieve us from looking at them and their provocative behavior.”

Israel is also building a large fence along its border with Egypt, it says to prevent illegal immigrants and rogue attacks from the Sinai.

Most controversial, however, has been Israel’s large separation wall along the West Bank.

Dubbed the Apartheid Wall, the separation barrier has annexed parts of the West Bank in defiance of international law, and divides Palestinian villages from one another.

Israel has illegally occupied the West Bank and Gaza since 1967.

(Al-Akhbar, Amal Khalil contributed to this report)

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