Lebanon says Golan recognition undercuts its claim to disputed land with Israel
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Lebanon says Golan recognition undercuts its claim to disputed land with Israel

President Michel Aoun expresses fear for future of Shebaa Farms, territory captured in 1967 from Syria but claimed by Beirut

Spanish UN peacekeepers patrol in the disputed Shebaa Farms area between Lebanon and Israel, overlooking the divided border village of Ghajar, southeast Lebanon, February 24, 2015. (AP /Hussein Malla)
Spanish UN peacekeepers patrol in the disputed Shebaa Farms area between Lebanon and Israel, overlooking the divided border village of Ghajar, southeast Lebanon, February 24, 2015. (AP /Hussein Malla)

Lebanon’s president said Tuesday that the recent US recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights undermines his country’s claim to another disputed territory.

Michel Aoun spoke during a press conference with visiting Bulgarian President Rumen Radev.

For Lebanon, there are fears over its claim to the Shebaa Farms — known in Hebrew as Mount Dov — and the adjacent Kfar Chouba hills, small patches of land captured by Israel from Syria during the Six Day War in 1967. Lebanon maintains that the strip of land is a part of Lebanon, despite it having been under Syrian control from the 1950s until it was captured as part of the Golan Heights.

Israel in the past maintained control in south Lebanon, but withdrew in 2000. The UN, which doesn’t recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan, has said Lebanon’s claim to the Shebaa Farms is to be settled with the Golan’s fate.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun in Tunis, Tunisia, March 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla, Pool)

US President Donald Trump formally recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights last month in a ceremony at the White House attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israel captured the strategic plateau in the Six Day War and in 1981 applied Israeli law to the territory, a step tantamount to annexation.

The move was never recognized by the international community, which considers the area to be occupied.

Arab countries have unanimously rejected the decision, calling the Trump administration’s policies biased toward Israel.

US President Donald Trump (L) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hold up a Golan Heights proclamation outside the West Wing after a meeting at the White House on March 25, 2019, in Washington. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP)

The leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah terrorist group last month condemned the recognition, saying an American shift on its stance regarding the West Bank could follow.

“After a period of time, we must expect that Trump will come out and say he recognizes Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank,” Hassan Nasrallah said in comments broadcast on Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Manar TV.

Netanyahu said this week he intends to extend Israeli sovereignty to Jewish West Bank settlements, days before Tuesday’s Knesset elections.

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