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Posted on on November 18th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

A cactus fruit has sweet matter beneath its thorns, so it turns out that land taken by Israel from Syria, but deemed by the UN as part of Lebanon, under the old border that was established by the the French and the British when they organized what became the modern Middle East, can it help normalize relations in the region, a century later, in the second decade of the 21st century?

Ghajar is a village populated by Alawites, who coincidentally are the Syrian minority sect that governs Syria. Strangely, when Israel conquered the village in the 1967 war the Ghajarites applied for Israeli citizenship and their wish was granted. In 1978 when Israel conquered southern Lebanon the Ghajaraites expanded their village into Lebanese territory and when Israel withdrew from Lebanon it continued to hold on to that extra sliver of land – so the Hezbollah contends that the withdrawal was not complete. To make things worse, a UN commission studying old maps declared that the whole village, including the Syrian part, is actually on the Lebanese side of the border according to the Franco-British maps – the only legally binding maps in existance. But what to do – the people living there are Israeli citizens?

Now – at a very appropriate time – and right for the world to see the in-fighting in Lebanon – with the court case of the killing of Prime Minister Rafik Haririri to prove that heads of Hezbollah were responsible – Israel decides to turn over the Ghajar village to Lebanon and requests the world to make sure and guarantee the life of its Israeli Alawite citizens.

Don’t you think that this could be the missing example needed to tackle the larger settlement of the Middle East conflict?
To get anywhere – the guarantee for cross-border citizenship is a plain must for a successful solution.
The 2300 Ghajarites are now the test-lab for peace – #1.

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