Israel is considering negotiating with Lebanon by reestablishing one of the 1949 armistice commissions that ended Israel's War of Independence.

Israeli officials have been discussing the matter with the United States, United Nations and European Union.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked the Foreign Ministry to present its opinion on the issue to the cabinet in the coming weeks.

U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell has said that the Obama administration is keen to see Israel renew negotiations with the Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. While there have been talks in recent years with Syria and the Palestinians, the Israeli-Lebanese track has remained quiet. Israel's main contact with Lebanon has been over implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 war with Hezbollah.

The 1949 armistice commission regularly functioned until 1967, but was disbanded at Israel's initiative.

The Lebanese-Israeli commission convened at border crossings at Rosh Hanikra and Metula with the participation of two Israeli representatives, two Lebanese and a chairman from the UN.

Combined agenda

The two sides were represented by both diplomats and military officials, reflecting the commission's combined military and political agenda. Decisions were taken by majority vote, with the UN representative breaking the tie when necessary.

Lebanon has repeatedly declared that it would be the last Arab country to sign a peace agreement with Israel.

Nonetheless, the Lebanese have said the armistice commission could serve as a channel for diplomatic talks with Israel as a precursor to peace negotiations.

Netanyahu has also asked the Foreign Ministry to present to the cabinet an updated position on the disputed Shaba Farms area and on a possible withdrawal from the northern part of the village of Ghajar, which straddles the Lebanese border.

The UN's envoy to Lebanon, Michael Williams, raised the Shaba Farms issue in a visit to Israel last week.

He suggested that Israel send a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressing a willingness to enter negotiations on all pending issues involving Lebanon, especially Ghajar and Shaba Farms.