Lebanese army moves into part of Shebaa farms

July 13, 2008 - 0:0

BEIRUT (Xinhua) -- The Lebanese army moved for the first time into a part of the Shebaa farms southeast of Lebanon, which is the only part of the farms Israel evacuated in 2000, local Daily Star reported Saturday.     

The report said that a road has been constructed to link Lebanese army positions with Bastara farm, one of the Shebaa farms occupied by Israel in 1967 when it captured also the neighboring Syrian Golan heights.     
Lebanese army vehicles and bulldozers could be seen moving into the farm, where lies some 300 meters away from other farms that Israel has occupied for more than 40 years.     
The Shebaa Farms, a mountainous sliver of land rich in water resources measuring 25 square km, are located at the junction of southeast Lebanon, southwest Syria and northern Israel.     
The ownership of the farms has been a controversial issue, as Lebanon claimed ownership of the farms, where the borders of Lebanon, Syria and Israel meet together.     
However, Israel said they are part of Syrian territories it conquered in 1967 along with the Golan Heights, and should be dealt with as part of negotiations with the Syrians.     
During a short visit to Lebanon in June this year, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that it is time to reach a deal concerning the farms ""in accordance with UN Resolution 1701.""     
The resolution put an end to 34 days of war between Hezbollah and Israel in 2006, and called for deployment of Lebanese army in south Lebanon and disarmament of all resistance fighters in the country.     
A Western-backed plan on solving the Shebaa Farms issue is to be put up under UN supervision until a solution is reached between Lebanon, Syria and Israel on its legitimate ownership.