Why is this surprising?
OK, now, let’s all chant together: “If I am not for myself . . .”
Hello? Anyone in the Israeli government listening????
by Hillel Fendel
(IsraelNN.com) The UN has all but decided that the Shab'a Farms in the Mt. Hermon region between Israel, Lebanon and Syria should be assigned to Lebanon. Italy may have flubbed a chance to free the captive soldiers, and France has no demands on its Lebanese visitors.
A United Nations team of map experts has all but decided that the Shab'a Farms in the Mt. Hermon region should be assigned to Lebanon and not Israel. Israel has long contended that when the original border was drawn between Lebanon and Syria after World War I, the area was placed on the Syrian side. This would render it currently under Israeli sovereignty, following Israel's capture and annexation of the Golan in 1967 and 1981, respectively.
Lebanon, however, claims the area as its own - and the United Nations cartographic experts are apparently siding with the Lebanese. Israel persuaded the UN not to publicize this position, for fear that it would lead to renewed Hizbullah hostilities against Israel, but publication now appears inevitable within two months.
Haaretz reports that Israel turned down a proposal to internationalize the Mt. Dov area, as it is known in Israel. Israel instead would rather officially retreat from the region within the framework of a "new and improved" ceasefire agreement.
Europe Lets Captives Down
Meanwhile, the two Israeli soldiers being held captive in Lebanon by Hizbullah are still in the news, though their release seems no closer than before. No word has been heard from them since their capture in June 2006.
The captives' families were utterly frustrated to hear on Monday of a vague Italian report accusing the Italian government of fudging a chance to free their sons. Le Stampa reported that the ex-chief of Italy's intelligence agency, Nicolai Polari, said the two Israelis could have been released, but that the Italian government did not act appropriately. "The intelligence services were very close to a situation in which they could have freed the two, but it didn't happen," Polari said.
Italian President Romano Prodi said that he could not confirm the report, as he does not have the full details. "I am not aware that we ever had knowledge of the whereabouts of the captives," he said.
On Monday, family members of the captives asked the French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner to demand a sign of life from soon-to-be-visiting Lebanese Parliament members. The relatives said that this must be a pre-requisite for the visit later this month - but the French minister did not agree. Kouchner said he could not make such a condition, but promised to demand such information on the captives when the Lebanese arrive in his country. French officials say that the release of the Israeli captives is a high priority for them.